The leading platform for hotel reservations in the cloud, SiteMinder, revealed during its participation in the WTM Latin America 2018 in São Paulo, Brazil, the growth and opportunities that Costa Rica has in terms of hotel reservations.
In the last five years alone, online reservations have grown by 46%, and by 2022 it is estimated that they will reach a total value of ¢65.7 billion colones.
According to Siteminder, Costa Rica maintains its strong brand presence in the global tourism market, largely due to its wealth of ecological and cultural offerings, in addition to its well-developed tourism infrastructure. As a result, Costa Rica is a vacation destination that attracts a wide variety of travelers. Tourism also benefits from the country’s secure and stable reputation.
SiteMinder considers 2018 will be a real chance of success for the country due to four important reasons.
Air connections boost the growth of tourism. So far this year, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) reports the generation of more than 96,000 additional seats available, thanks to the arrival of new flights and the increase in flight frequencies, by different airlines that operate in the country. In 2017, tourist arrivals reached a historic record due to the growing popularity of low-cost airlines such as Volaris and Veca. In addition, other airlines such as Air France, KLM that provide connections to Europe, added more flights in response to the growing demand. Air Costa Rica, the national airline, also began operating in February 2017 with charter flights.
Convention tourism is growing strongly. With the recent inauguration of the National Convention Center, business tourism in the country will be further enhanced. Indeed, the Costa Rican Tourism Board plans to attract US$1.3 billion in five years through 950 congresses and conventions under the “Ambassador Program”, which includes the participation of leaders in different sectors of the country. Their job will be to attract tourists to the country to participate in seminars and conventions, with the United States and Latin America being the main target markets.
Improvements in the airports to allow a better transit. The prospects for Costa Rica during the period contemplated are promising, both the Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) and the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia have been working on expansions and improvements during 2017. Investments for new boarding gates, a taxiway, a carousel for luggage, lobby expansion, VIP lounges, stores and offices, a new X-ray system, new audio and video systems for passenger information and an improved wireless network for Internet access will be all installed.
Tourists connect via web to find accommodation. The Internet has done away with traditional accommodation, and every time online booking services are more complete and secure. In 2017, visitors from Costa Rica searched for accommodation options online and often opted for Airbnb* or other short-term rentals. For Airbnb, Costa Rica is the most important market in Central America, with 8% of all visitors using the platform.
In Costa Rica, 48% of tourists are international and 52% are national travelers.
The international markets are (in order of importance): the United States, Nicaragua, Canada, Panama, Mexico, El Salvador, Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, among others.