Friday 24 September 2021

Costa Rica’s Tourism reports losses of $3 billion and affecting 100,000 families

The tourism sector reported an increase in visitors by air between September and November after more than 130 days of border closures due to the pandemic. Despite the gradual recovery, the sector still sees the future with uncertainty.

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QCOSTARICA – Around US$3 billion in losses and direct impact on some 100,000 people are part of the effects caused by the crisis in the Costa Rican tourism sector this year.

The tourism sector reported an increase in visitors by air between September and November after more than 130 days of border closures due to the pandemic. Despite the gradual recovery, the sector still sees the future with uncertainty.

According to the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) the main impact has been due to the drop in international visitation, which is estimated at 96%. Only 74,000 tourists this year were received against 1.8 million last year.

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Javier Pacheco, president of the Chamber of Hoteliers, stated that in general terms the sector is going through a crisis with a “size of 80%”. What business there has been iss thanks to local tourism, “but this is not sustainable,” he said.

“The sector is not close to getting ahead, the sector is doing what promotion it can, today it is everyone against everyone and everyone is trying to survive with local tourism, which is not sustainable,” said Pacheco.

Despite the openings, there are currently at least 55,000 workers in the sector who maintain some kind of impact at the labor level, either with reduction of hours or suspension of contracts, which is equivalent to 26%. If layoffs are contemplated, the number of those affected amounts to 100,000.

For next year it is projected that around 30% of the tourists received in 2019 may arrive, 50% in 2022 and 75% in 2023.

“Perhaps in 2024 the levels prior to the start of the pandemic will recover,” said Rubén Acón.

For its part, the Guanacaste Chamber of Tourism (Caturgua) affirmed that the approval of a reform to the Law to allow the extension of the term to reduce working hours for 3 more months would save employment in the sector.

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The initiative was at the request of the business sector, in general, to extend the reduction of working hours as an alternative to avoid having to lay off more personnel.

“This is urgent due to the need of companies, mainly in the tourism sector, which has been one of the most affected during the declaration of national emergency due to COVID-19, this would prevent a massive wave of layoffs at the beginning of 2021,” said Caturgua .

 

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Reports by QCR staff

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