The fear of catching the coronavirus covid-19 has already caused at least 8,000 confirmed cancellations for travel to Costa Rica, according to Cámara Nacional de Turismo (Canatur). – National Chamber of Tourism.
Canatur said various sectors of national tourism have already begun to report “strong effects” between cancellations, change of itineraries and a decrease of future reservations.
The sector report comes just a day after the Ministry of Health confirmed 22 cases of the covid-19 in Costa Rica and on the same day when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic.
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Government ordered the suspension of all trips from Europe, which could translate into an additional impact on Costa Rica’s and international tourism in general, which is expected to lead to more local cancellations.
Even before the Canatur revealed the results of its consultations with its affiliates, it was evident that the rate of cancellations had intensified this week, “which is hitting the tourism industry hard in the height of the high season,” Canatur said in a statement.
The Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles (CCH) – Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels – reports more than 8,000 hotel nights have canceled, so far, some for the month of March, but mainly for April, May, and June. Likewise, it projects a decrease in future reservations that ranges between 5% and 50% in different hotels and areas in the country.
The Asociación Costarricense de Agencias de Viajes (ACAV) – Costa Rican Association of Travel Agencies – indicated that the issuing agencies have had to cancel almost 90% of reservations made to Europe and the Far East, and future reservations have fallen by 50%.
For its part, the Asociación Costarricense de Operadores de Turismo (ACOT) – Costa Rican Association of Tour Operators – reported that some of its affiliates reported significant cancellations by groups of Japanese tourists and student groups, mainly by Americans, who had planned to enjoy their spring break in the country.
Although March presents cancellations, one of the situations that most worries the sector, is the downward trend in reservations that has been seen, practically, in tourist activities.
Canatur urgently called on the Government to take this into account and implement support measures for entrepreneurs, in order to avoid an economic collapse that leads to massive layoffs and the inability of businesses to meet their obligations.