(QCOSTARICA) Costa Rica is negotiating to be part of a select group of countries that seeks to reactivate international tourism, through a kind of “tourist bubble” proposed by Australia.
Costa Rica President, Carlos Alvarado, met virtually with leaders from Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Norway, countries that would be part of the initiative, reports The Guardian.
These countries, considered “first movers” or first mobilizers, have in common that they are nations that have already begun the lifting of the sanitary restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus.
The movement is driven by Austrian Chancellor Sebastián Kurz.
I was glad to host another videoconference with the heads of state & government of the successful first mover countries #Australia, #Israel, #Greek, #NewZealand, #CostaRica, #Denmark, #Norway & #CzechRepublic on the fight against #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/Swgo5UwTdD
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) May 27, 2020
In this context, Australia proposed that Costa Rica sign a memorandum of understanding with Australia over airline codesharing services.
Attracting Australian travelers to Costa Rica would boost the tourism sector, seeking to recover from the pandemic.
The Alvarado government is exploring direct flights to Australia’s east coast and inclusion in a bubble agreement with New Zealand, working to have arrangements in place to welcome Australians quarantine-free by the beginning of 2021 “at the latest”.
Costa Rica’s ambassador to Australia, Armando Vargas, believes direct flights between the San José and Australia’s east coast is possible, at about 17 hours.
This would mean that visa requirements for Costa Ricans visiting Australia and vice versa will be relaxed.
Currently, visa requirements are much tighter for Costa Ricans visiting Australia than vice-versa. Araya said he hopes the travel bubble would lead to passport immunity between nations.
Costa Rica’s tourism sector accounts for 12% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).