QCOSTARICA – The sanitary measures announced by the government weeks before the start of the high tourism season in Costa Rica already generate questions from the tourism sector, who point out that they were not once again consulted in the decision-making process.
And although the tourism sector has launched a strong campaign to support the vaccination process against Covid-19, with the intention of turning Costa Rica into a safe destination to travel, the issue of the mandatory vaccination certificate as of December 1 is already starting to be a “stone in the shoe”.
The first segment to launch the cry of alert was the hotelier, who warned that the mandatory vaccination certificate would put the next high season at risk.
“We are entering the high season and we are sending a negative and uncertain message to international tourists, this can result in cancellations or a disincentive to potential travelers, this could not only bring immediate negative effects that would be reflected in the high season, but that could imply serious damages for next year, which would be a disaster in the fulfillment of the recovery goals of companies and employment,” said Jorge Pacheco, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels.
The Costa Rican Association of Tourism Operators has a similar position, which expressed its disagreement with the new measures and the lack of coordination between the government and the private sector.
“It is very worrying that a large part of the Costa Rican population has not yet been vaccinated and by taking measures like these, a negative message is sent internationally, as we are preventing many tourists from visiting Costa Rica. As is well known, the main source market to Costa Rica is the United States and according to information that has emerged, only 57% of Americans are vaccinated, this means that the impact on the cancellation of reservations for this high season is imminent,” said Kathia Valverde, president of the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Operators.
From the National Chamber of Tourism, they assure that the entry into force of the vaccination certificate puts at risk the economic reactivation and the recovery of jobs.
“It can be said that it is the most anticipated moment of the year, the concern that exists is that, with only the announcement of the measure, a wave of cancellations in reservations is already being caused and it has been perceived as a disincentive to tourists with the intention of come to the country to spend your vacations. Let us remember that international tourism operates with advance reservations,” said Rubén Acón, president of the National Chamber of Tourism.
Employers also questioned how complicated it would be to implement the measure in many of the establishments, where it would be necessary to have a person dedicated to requesting the “QR Codes” at the door and also to establish a regulation that protects workers who reject the entry of unvaccinated people.
On the other hand, they maintain that with the implementation of strict health protocols in businesses, it has been shown that tourism has not been a source of contagion of Covid-19.
The generalized position of the tourism sector is that the measure of requiring a vaccination certificate be applied after March or April 2022, when the high season ends.
The sector speaks out
Impacts on tourism will be immediate if the mandatory vaccination certificate for tourists is maintained, say businessmen like Jorge Figueroa President of the Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants.
“Asking tourists for the certificate is a bit complicated due to the issue of competition right now with other countries and it would also be very ugly to discriminate against Costa Ricans,” assures Figueroa.
Tadeo morales, Arenal Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, “We believe that this measure will destroy the hope we had of recovery with this season that we see coming, which was very optimistic, which was showing well in reserves. We ask the government to take into account that this would be an economic debacle.”
The Ministry of Health, nor the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – tourism board, have yet to clarify if tourists will be required to have the QR code and where and how to get it.
At the Q we are preparing a letter to both the Ministry of Health and Tourism Board for clarity on this matter. We invite you to post your comments on our official Facebook page, Twitter or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.