(QCOSTARICA) The North American Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) urged the Government of Carlos Alvarado to allow commercial flights from the United States “as soon as possible” to attract more tourists and thus support the reactivation of tourism sector.
“Given the reopening of air borders, the exclusion of flights from the United States significantly limits the arrival of tourists to Costa Rica,” said AmCham in a statement, pointing that last year alone more than 1.3 million Americans visited the country.
On Monday, the first flight carrying tourists arrived at the Juan Santamaria airport (SJO) in San Jose, an Iberia flight from Madrid, Spain.
Gisela Sánchez, president of AmCham, stated that most of the airlines that fly to Costa Rica come from the United States. It is also the country with the highest frequency of direct flights.
“Historically, Americans make up the largest group of tourists, so it is illogical to exclude them. We believe that, applying the same regulation proposed for other countries, they should be able to enter our country,” Sánchez said.
Currently, only commercial flights from Canada, the European Union and the UK have been authorized. Visitors are required to have a COVID-19 PCR test result within 48 hours of the flight, complete the Ministry of Health digital epidemiological form and purchase travel insurance for medical expenses from the State insurer.
The Amcham proposes that, under equal conditions, commercial flights from the United States should be authorized.
Overcharging insurance for tourists will affect the arrival of tourists
The Chamber also requested that the COVID test be expanded to 72 hours before the trip to facilitate the application and presentation of results, and criticized the government’s measure that the purchase of insurance can only be purchased from the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), whose cost ranges from $ 275 to $ 965 for a 15-day stay.
AmCham is the country’s largest bi-national chamber of commerce, charged with promoting bilateral trade and investment between the United States and Costa Rica, for the last 45 years.
The organization brings together exporters, importers, shared service centers, legal and consulting firms, industries, real estate, educational centers and universities, retail and wholesale businesses, agricultural and livestock companies, among others.
The Amcham joins the clamor of the tourism sector and airline representatives, who also criticize the insurance requirement without considering policies purchased abroad, who believe that there should not be a single provider, much less with rates that discourage tourists from visiting the country.
“Many people who want to visit our country already have insurance that offers international coverage against COVID-19, so the measure taken by the government will discourage international tourism,” said the Chamber.
Subjected to criticism from different sectors, President Carlos Alvarado, said on Friday he has called on his Minister of Tourism (ICT), Gustavo Segura, and Minister of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), Victoria Hernández, to review allowing the use of international insurance to cover the hospitalization and accommodation of foreign tourists in the country in case of infection by COVID-19.