Monday 20 March 2023

Costa Rica received 766,000 tourists by air after reopening of borders

Visitors who arrived in the country between August of last year and the last July are half of the vacationers who arrived in the same period between 2019 and 2020.

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QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica received a total of 766,303 tourists arrivals by air, between August 2020, when it reopened its borders, after almost five months of closure due to the pandemic of covid-19, and July of this year.

Costa Rica received 766,303 tourists, by air, between August of last year and last July, after the reopening to commercial flights was authorized. Photo: Courtesy ICT

That number represents almost half of the 1,536,382 vacationers who came to Costa Rica between August 2019 and July 2020 by air, according to figures reported by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rica’s Tourism Board – this Thursday, August 12.

“With the data and the perspective that time gives, I vindicate a decision that represented a turning point and of success in the beginning of the recovery process of our tourism industry: the reopening of the air border after five months of zero season,” said the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura.

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The covid-19 pandemic caused that, between March and July of last year, the air borders be closed, stopping all commercial airline flights from arriving in the country, as a preventive measure in the face of the global health crisis.

On August 1, 2020, Costa Rica reopened its air borders to the European Union and, on August 3, 2020, the first flight with tourists arrived from Madrid, Spain. In the weeks following, the air borders were opened to more countries, including the United States, with an opening to all.

Since November of last year, Costa Rica has received travelers from any country in the world, complying with the immigration and health requirements established for each nation.

“The reopening was a wise decision that we arrived at after a thorough analysis, an essential step that places us today in a present and future strategic position to safeguard one of the most important industries for the economy and social progress of the country, the tourism,” highlighted Segura.

The United States is consolidated as the main engine of tourist recovery, by air, with the arrival of 549,752 people between August of last year and July 2021.

European visitors follow in relevance with 110,907 arrivals, shows data from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) – Costa Rica’s immigration service, analyzed by the ICT.

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Despite the rise in tourist arrivals, the country still lags behind visitation, when compared to periods prior to the pandemic.

Read more: Avianca opens six new direct routes from Costa Rica

July, a key month

The information released by the ICT shows that last month, July, was the best for tourist visitation, since the reopening, with 146,915 international tourists arrivals, while, the month earlier, June, there were 117,527 arrivals.

Tourism from the United States accounted for the majority of visitors in July, with 109,225 visitors from that country.

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The ICT highlighted, in its statement, that Costa Rica is one of the few destinations in the world that, despite the global uncertainty due to covid-19, recovered all the airlines from the United States that served in the pre-pandemic.

In addition, it has added new airlines such as Frontier and the Spanish Iberojet, as well as new routes to and from cities such as San Francisco, Denver, and Austin.

But, U.S. airlines are not the only ones raising routes into the country.

This Thursday, the Colombian airline Avianca announced the opening of six new direct routes from Costa Rica: Five are to Latin American destinations and one to New York.

Spain’s Iberia, for its part, announced that as of this summer it will recover its usual flight schedule to Costa Rica, and will return to seven weekly San José – Madrid frequencies, instead of the current five.

Requirements to enter Costa Rica

  1. Air passengers must arrive at San Jose (SJO) or Liberia, Guanacaste (LIR).
  2. A “Pase de Salud” (Health Pass) form must be completed before the departure of the flight to Costa Rica. This will generate a QR code which must be presented upon arrival.
  3. Tourists must have travel insurance of a minimum of 3 days, which coverage of Coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment and accommodation costs.This does apply to:

    – Nationals and (legal) residents of Costa Rica.
    – Passengers younger than 18 years of age.
    – Passengers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, showing they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival. Vaccines accepted are Pfizer/Biontech, AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Moderna.


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