QCOSTARICA – If the current rate of tourist spending in Costa Rica is maintained, the country could exceed the foreign currency received from tourism this year compared to 2019.
And it is that the expense for foreign travel for tourism and business in Costa Rica corresponding to the first quarter of 2023 reached US$1.19 billion, exceeding the figure of US$1 billion for the first time since the pandemic.
“Tourism is contributing significantly to the country’s balance of payments, one more example of the ICT’s (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo) work to attract more visitors, spend more and have a pleasant stay that invites them to return and recommend Costa Rica as a destination,” said William Rodríguez, Minister of Tourism.
The concept of foreign exchange for tourism during all of 2019 was US$3.98 billion, according to data from the Banco Central (Central Bank of Costa Rica).
More than 1.3 million visitors arrived in the country during the first six months of 2023, an amount that slightly exceeded the data registered for the same period in 2019.
Tourists staying longer and spending more
While the number of visitors that arrived in the country during the first semester of 2023 is an excellent indicator for the country, according to the Turismo por Costa Rica (Tourism for Costa Rica) movement, these tourists are staying longer and spending more.
“It is always good to recognize the achievements that the tourist activity has obtained, but we must also be permanently trying to increase its benefits for all our citizens,” said Bary Roberts, spokesperson for Tourism for Costa Rica.
However, they called on the authorities to collaborate with Pymes turísticas – small to medium (SME) tourist businesses – on the issue of the dollar exchange rate and interest rates on loans.
Tourism for Costa Rica explained that it would be much better news if the tourism sector were not facing a 22% decrease in income in colones for every dollar, new taxes, high-interest rates on loans and serious liquidity problems.