The outbreak of the novel virus COVID-19 has resulted in more than one million Americans applying for job seeker benefits. While some are scrambling to find ways to make ends meet, others are looking to get out of the U.S. for a much needed break.
The United States just decided to drop its travel advisory for the country of beautiful sandy beaches which is Costa Rica, from level 4 to level 3. Level 4 states that Americans ‘do not travel’ to these destinations, while a level 3 suggests citizens should ‘reconsider travel’.
For many holidaymakers, they take little to no notice of governmental advice, but there is still a large portion of the population in the U.S. that take these travel warnings very seriously. As such, authorities are expecting an influx of tourists booking flights down to Central America.
The U.S. has always had a close relationship with Costa Rica, which is evident when one travels through the center of San Jose and takes in the Americanised landscape in what once was a hub for Latin culture on the continent.
The decision comes after Costa Rica announced they will allow all American tourists to travel there for pleasure. It’s not just the idyllic landscapes and plush white sand of the Costa Rican coast that draws in tourists.
A growing number of American tourists are traveling south to take advantage of the great sports betting opportunities unavailable to U.S citizens in their own country.
Whatever it may be, Costa Rica has recognized the importance of tourism for its economy and has permitted Americans from all states to fly over. Initially, hot-spot states like Florida were of concern to the authorities. But, as time marches on, the government has come to the stark realization that they must take advantage of American’s traveling to the region in order to ensure local businesses stay afloat during these unpredictable times.
What is required to travel?
While the Costa Rican authorities have confirmed the first date to travel as November 1st for Americans, citizens must first apply for a ‘Health Pass’ online before traveling. The process is fairly straightforward and just acts as a declaration for citizens looking to travel, as well as a kind of insurance for the Costa Rican government. It’s worth noting that the lifting of any travel restrictions will also allow Canadians to travel to Costa Rica without the need to quarantine.
This wasn’t the first move from the Costa Rican travel authorities, they had previously been allowing citizens from states with lower case numbers in the US, such as Maine, Connecticut and New Jersey, to travel from the start of September. The tragedy of it all is that many countries across the globe are now ramping up lockdown restrictions to try and combat the rising numbers of deaths and cases. The challenge for governments is to try and find a balance between managing the spread of the virus and ensuring businesses don’t go under.
It is estimated that tourism contributes to around 7% of Costa Rica’s GDP, as well as generating almost 13% of employment. Eco-tourism is huge in the country and with so much to see and do, it’s a growing industry that the government feels they must protect. This is evidenced by this recent decision, which is something we’ve seen across Europe as well.
Although, in many cases, this has proven to be counterproductive, with many countries now blocking travel between EU nations. This is why the Costa Rican government has implemented the Digital Health Pass, which will provide proof of prospective travelers’ health. The Pass confirms that the arrival has a negative COVID-19 test result taken within three days of their flight to Costa Rica. In addition to that, all arrivals will have to be covered with travel insurance from an international provider.
The government is hopeful the lifting of travel restrictions will open the door to some 20 million tourists arriving from the US in the coming months. While the figures may be optimistic, any arrivals will be welcome and breathe life back into an industry that has suffered greatly in 2020.