(QCOSTARICA) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued a warning to the Costa Rican government for the “excessive” cost of the mandatory travel insurance policy for international travelers entering the country.
One of the requirements established for the entry of foreign tourists to the country is the purchase of insurance by the State insured, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), which is classified as “expensive” by the business sector and chambers of tourism.
According to the calculator implemented by the INS, travel insurance to cover medical expenses and lodging in the event tourists become infected and require medical attention while visiting the country ranges depending on age from US$275, US$299 for a tourist between 18 and 45, US$581 for between 46 and 70, to US$965 for older.
The IATA questions the excessive rate that the policy can only be purchased with a single provider, in this case, the INS.
“Although we understand that this measure seeks to cover the cost of medical treatment in the event of an eventual contagion in Costa Rica, we consider that it is a deterrent to attract tourism to the country. Any difference in the cost of the trip could seriously and directly affect the recovery of both the tourism sector and air transport. This brings into play the important contribution of this key sector of the economy that is hard hit after 5 months of paralysis,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA regional vice president for the Americas.
The international organization even asked Costa Rica to analyze the request for the requirement of negative COVID-19 tests for passengers from Canada, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom, the only three countries currently authorities for commercial flights to Costa Rica.
“Limiting operations to certain countries and at the same time requesting COVID-19 tests as an entry requirement for all passengers could discourage passenger demand and, therefore, affect tourism and the national economy,” said Cerdá.
Under current conditions, IATA does not believe that the current conditions requested by Costa Rican authorities encourage an increase in air traffic and a higher demand for passengers.
“Historically, Costa Rica has managed to boost its tourism industry largely due to travelers arriving in the country by air. We call on the government to reconsider these measures and to continue working with its main ally, the air transport industry, so that it can lend its experience and best practices so that aviation becomes one of the pillars of reconstruction of the economic situation of the country after the pandemic,” concluded Cerdá.
On Friday, July 31, President Carlos Alvarado called on his Minister of Tourism and Minister of the Economy, to review the INS rates and analyze the possibility that other insurers offer insurance policies, including insurance purchased abroad.
On Saturday, August 1, the INS announced it would be launching a lower-cost insurance product, but did not provide details, only saying the request is before the insurance regulatory body for approval.