QCOSTARICA – The protests and roadblocks caused the cancellation of around 50% of the reservations planned in the tourism sector, for the past weekend, a blow considered very strong when the industry is just recovering., according to a telephone survey carried out by the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH).
Areas such as the northern zone (Huetar Norte) and Caribbean reported the greatest impact.
Flora Ayub, executive director of the CCH, said that businessmen resorted to strategies to try to help tourists get there, but in some areas it was impossible.
Tadeo Morales, president of the Arenal Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, explained that there are an estimated 12,500 beds in the area and only about 50 people managed to arrive over the weekend.
For this reason, in that region, the expected cancellations are estimated at almost 100%.
Due to the permanent and intermittent roadblocks, practically all the access roads to that region, from the central valley, were blocked during the past weekend.
Morales agreed with Orean Marciano, the general manager of the Los Altos Resort hotel, in Manuel Antonio, Quepos, in support of the protest because the country, in general, cannot bear more taxes, but on the other hand, they want to take advantage of the little visitation in the slow reactivation in the middle of the pandemic.
In the southern Caribbean region, meanwhile, between 50% and 60% of reservations were canceled, as a consequence of the inability to transit, due to roadblocks.
Frank León, of the South Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, warned that this situation abruptly cut off an important reactivation of the visits that had been taking place, during the weekends, to that area.
That chamber considered that during the opening weekends, except September 15, occupancy had already reached levels of 70% to 75%. The long weekend in mid-September was affected by a decision by the municipalities to close the beaches in the Caribbean.
The Guanacaste Chamber of Tourism (Caturgua) reported affectations during the weekend but declined to refer to figures saying it was still carrying out a telephone survey among its associates.
On social networks, many wrote about the hours and hours moving from places like Jaco and Herradura in the Central Pacific, to the Guanacaste beaches in the North Pacific. One lady wrote it took her 9 hours on Sunday, a trip that would normally take 3 hours. She posted on her Facebook page that another guest had taken 12 hours for the same distance.
The president of the Proimagen Group, Silvia Vargas, said that they still have no information on concerns from international wholesalers about roadblocks in the country.
However, she assured, this type of news travels very quickly and the concern is about the effect it will have on the so-called high season, which begins in December.
Typically, an international traveler makes the decision and reserves between three months and six months before the trip. For that reason, she warned, at this time international tourists are making the decision regarding their destinations for the season from December to April.
“The current situation in Costa Rica would have a more severe blow for the next high season,” emphasized the leader of Promaigen, which promotes Costa Rica in North America.