QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica’s tourism sector got a much needed boost with the authorization for the return of the cruise ships, starting next September 1.
The requirement that 100% of the crew and 95% of the passengers have been vaccinated against covid-19.
The measure will also be specified with the application of the Port Operation Protocol, endorsed by the Ministry of Health, as established in Presidential Directive 082-MP-S, explained the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board, in a statement.
Visitors must also comply with the requirement to fill out the epidemiological form called the Health Pass (Pase de Salud), 72 hours before their arrival in the country.
Meanwhile, the accepted vaccines will be those authorized by the National Vaccination and Epidemiology Commission and the last dose of the vaccine must have been applied at least 14 days before sailing.
The cruise industry is particularly important for coastal communities, although tourists of this type also take tours to different areas of the country.
The ICT recalled that in the 2019-2020 season, prior to the start of the critical part of the pandemic, 239,566 cruise passengers arrived in Costa Rica, in 113 vessels through the Pacific and 84 through the Caribbean.
Due to the pandemic, cruise activity in Costa Rica was suspended towards the end of the 2019-2020 season, on March 16, 2020.
In the 2020-2021 season, there was no activity due to emergency measures.
The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, highlighted, for his part, the relevance of this type of activity in different communities.
“The restart of this tourist activity will benefit the ports of Limón, Puntarenas, Caldera, Quepos and Golfito. Each cruise passenger spends an average of US$137 per day, which means an important impact on the reactivation of the local economy of the coastal communities,” declared the Minister.
He added that nine cruise lines have already included Costa Rica among their destinations, in view of the imminent reopening. They are Windstar, Lindblad, Sea Cloud, Seabourn Quest, Celebrity Millenium, Carnival Pride, Crown Princess, Diamond Princess and Seven Seas Mariner. Five of these cruise lines would dock at Limón and the rest in Pacific ports.
Four of those cruise liners will come with vessels with an average capacity of 2,500 passengers and five with less than 500 passengers.
“In the first phase of this reopening, most of the cruises are those with the lowest passenger capacity and luxury, such as the Lindbland (National Geographic Expeditions),” said Minister Segura.
The first cruise to arrive would be from the Windstar line, on September 2, to Golfito, with approximately 150 passengers on board, Segura detailed.