Saturday 31 July 2021

[OP-ED] Tourism & Transparency

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Tourism is supposedly 5% of the national GDP. But who really knows? The numbers are so skewed and come from five so called reputable sources: We have no idea of truth.

Maybe the problem is that tourism funds, along with all the other worthy tax causes are derived from events such as a percent of ICE, a percent from water, a percent from ‘Internet”, a percent from traffic fines, resulting in an endless trail of money received and who and the hell knows the money spent. The central government has no idea, so how do we?

Certainly, for many years there has been a call for “transparency”, yet the system or that inherent and I suspect deliberate man made chaos is such that few people are capable of understanding the source of funds and use of same.

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Dr. Peter F. Drucker, and once again I refer to my former mentor said, “…there are only three questions enterprise and government must ask; “Where are we, where will we be and what should we be?”

Absent of true transparency, or even with our incomprehensible, complicated Tico transparency which is tad amount to disguise where we are has no idea how to answer any of the three Drucker’s questions.

The collected tax and fee income of all taxes paid in and should go directly to the national government who alone decide which of the many institutions that can justify funding to run the country is simply not the case. (Some worthy and some not.)

Therefore, organizations such as ICE, AyA and Recope, PANI and a lot more will be judged not on today’s costs of doing business but rather their massive accumulated reserves which are just that and never recorded as “profit” by definition of standard accounting terms.

So what happens to the folks who built and opened hotels, motels and bread & breakfasts waiting for the inflow of clients?

They have been collectively left in the dark. They have little if any faith in the ICT or Canateur. The two most important agencies to promote tourism in Costa Rica.

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Why?

Not only are the funds collected from various agencies sufficient, but most of those funds go to support the promotion of water rights, the building of mega all inclusive resorts which proliferate the Pacific and are duly afraid of the crime rate in the Atlantic.

In reality, CR is losing tourism as a result of overwhelming complexities. Lack of funds, poor advertising and little support for the smaller, boutique hotels and this policy has all but killed the golden goose.

In my humble, not so humble opinion, why not advertise Costa Rica on the Internet instead of television? Who is going to watch our national team play in FIFA except Ticos? “Hello” to the concept of target marketing. World wide we hit the Internet and we all check in with Yahoo, Google and later the limited local news.

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Hey! Spend some money on Internet advertising since 65% of the readers of these Websites are foreigners! And they are tourists!

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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