QCOSTARICA – One year after Costa Rica reopened its air borders due to the Covid-19 health emergency, the return of airlines to the country has already taken off, but it still is not flying high when compared to the market before the pandemic.
This limits international connections and the offer for foreign tourists, but also for nationals and residents who want to leave the country for work, study or vacation.
To date, 40% of the airlines have yet to resume their flights to Costa Rica, after the closure of borders for five months in 2020.
The 12 include; Air Panama, Air Transat, Albatros, British Airways, Condor, and Interjet.
On the other hand, more airlines have returned to the country. Sixteen airlines have already resumed operations, according to data from the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. (ICT) – Costa Rica’s tourism board.
Iberia, Lufthansa, United Airlines, American Airlines, Aeroméxico, Volaris and Jet Blue are in this group.
Also, two new airlines, Frontier and Iberojet, began operations in the country
All pre-pandemic airlines have recovered from the United States and new routes have been added to and from cities such as San Francisco, Denver and Austin.
This is important because the vast majority of tourists to Costa Rica come from the United States.
“We expect an important high season,” said Álvaro Vargas, general director of Civil Aviation.
To help facilitate the return of more airlines and tourists, especially from Europe and Canada, from where a large number of tourists arrivals originate, the government has developed health and care protocols.
“Some countries and they are still closed or restricted, we have been very open in allowing, in an orderly manner and following sanitary measures, and easiness for passengers to return to Costa Rica,” concluded Vargas.
Although Costa Rica opened its borders August 1, 2020, only for travelers from the European Union, currently visitors from anywhere in the world are welcomed, as long as they comply with immigration and health requirements related to Covid -19.
With respect to immigration, they are the same pre-pandemic; as to health, all visitors must fill out a Health Pass and proof of covid travel insurance for a minimum of US$50,000 dollars to cover medical costs and US$2,000 for lodging. The insurance requirement is waived to travelers who have been fully vaccinated.
The ICT highlighted weeks ago that, during the last year, 766 thousand tourists have arrived in the country, representing half of the pre-pandemic tourist volume.
“With the data and the perspective that time gives, I vindicate a decision that represented a turning point and of success in the beginning of the recovery process of our tourism industry: the reopening of the air border after five months of zero season,” said the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura.
The United States is consolidated as the main engine for the recovery of tourists by air with an entry of 549 thousand visitors, followed by Europe, with 110 thousand.
“There is still a long way to go and we must go together in the same direction as the public and private sector to open ourselves in the best way to the world, with firm steps, without abandoning our essence, always thinking about the health of the person,” added the minister.
The current list of airlines restarting their operations to and from Costa Rica:
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
- Air France
- Frontier (new)
- Iberojet (new)
Not yet to restart their operations in Costa Rica are:
- Air Canada
- Sun Country