QCOSTARICA – The pandemic caused by Covid-19 fuels the strategy of positioning Costa Rica as a world destination to develop wellness tourism, since travelers will be in search of countries that project a healthy and relaxing lifestyle.
So concludes Laura Barrantes, president of Wellness Costa Rica and representative of the country before the organization of Global Wellness Day.
“In 2021, the country is working on this premise to invite all travelers to consider the enhancement of a market niche such as the wellness segment, which allows them that much-needed contact with nature, in biosafety conditions, to improve this mental health so affected, not only now by the pandemic, but for some years ago with the phenomenon known as burnout, which has seen its effects increased precisely due to the global health situation,” explained Barrantes.
Thermalism, spa, meditation, yoga, physical exercise, forest therapy, thalassotherapy and therapeutic massages are part of the activities sought by tourists who love wellness.
They also seek services related to preventive health and weight loss.
A key part of the growth of Costa Rica as a destination has been the professionalization of services related to well-being in recent years.
“Costa Rica had a very wide range of wellness services. Given the growth of the segment, which has even been adopted as a lifestyle by many people, it was necessary to insert them as part of the country’s tourism product,” added Barrantes.
La Fortuna, Nosara, the South Pacific, the Nicoya Peninsula (cantons of the Blue Zone), Ujarrás, Santa Teresa and the South Caribbean, are considered the hot spots of well-being in the country, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute ( ICT).
“Each of these places has an integrated offer that allows them to identify them as ideal for wellness. We cannot talk about a destination being wellness just because it has 50 yoga studios,” the expert analyzed.
Costa Rica competes with Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Singapore for the attraction of tourists from the United States and the main European markets, such as Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Mexico ranks first at the regional level and number eleven worldwide within the tourism wellness market, generating US$10.5 billion annually. No other Latin American country appears in the global top 25.
The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rica’s tourism board – began working on the strategy to position the country as a wellness destination in 2016. There is even the Costa Rica Wellness Association, with 20 member companies, which seeks to promote the development of businesses dedicated to this industry.
The wellness industry moves US$3.4 billion a year. These were the fastest growing segments during 2020, according to the Global Wellness Institute (figures in percentages):
- Public health and personalized or preventive medicine (+23.5)
- Fitness of the body and mind (+21.4)
- Real estate dedicated to wellness and lifestyle (+18.6)
- Wellness tourism (+14)
- Healthy food, good nutrition and weight loss (+12.8)