Monday 5 December 2022

Rubén Pacheco: “Tourism is in a race with the lion at its back”

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3 December 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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The re-opening of international flights, the modification of sanitary regulations, and financial support, all done in a moderate but in a consistent manner, are key to reviving the tourism sector that contributes the most to the national economy.

That is the opinion of Rubén Pacheco, president of Enjoy Group, a hospitality company founded in 1973, that operates hotels such as the Marriott Los Suenos and Marriott Belen, among others and restaurants such as PF Chang’s.

Pacheco told La Republica, “otherwise, and not having a vaccine soon, we will take up to three years to return to the conditions prior to the Coronavirus.”

As for the opening of the flights, Pacheco said it is urgent to continue with that plan, we are already behind compared to other countries, even Japan pays plane ticket of visitors, while Spain, Italy, and Mexico offer benefits of various types.

“We must also offer incentives that cost nothing, such as permission to stay six months in Costa Rica, so that American pensioners and teleworkers spend half the year or more in Costa Rica, which is known worldwide for controlling the pandemic,” said Pacheco.

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As to sanitary norms, the businessman says they must be moderate; “If a hotel ensures adequate conditions, including keeping distance in restaurants and other spaces, there is no point in limiting room occupancy to 50%.”

As for the economic issue, the country must take advantage of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) willingness to lend us up to US$1 billion at zero interest.

The support of the national banks is positive, by accepting the extensions of many loans; however, it is a pat on the shoulder as the debt builds up and does not go away.

“In the last few months, we have done many things well. However, for a sector that is in a race with the lion at its back, the necessary support is urgent,” concluded Pacheco.

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