Saturday 15 May 2021

Tourist arrivals to Costa Rica fell 68% last year compared to 2019

Report from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute details that in 2020 a total of 1,011,912 foreign visitors entered the country

QCOSTARICA – Arrivals of foreign tourists to Costa Rica by all routes fell 67.7% last year, compared to 2019 figures, although that third is estimated to be a good result in the middle of a pandemic.

The photo of Tamarindo in November is a reflection of the very slow recovery in Costa Rica’s tourism. Even so, it is recovering faster than other competitors. Photo: Rafael Pacheco

According to a statement from the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board – released Wednesday, January 13, throughout 2020 a total of 1,011,912 tourists visited the country.

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In 2019, total visitation (by air, land and sea) reached a total of 3,139,008 tourists, according to the ICT statistical reports.

During 2020, the air borders remained closed between March and August, when a gradual opening began, first with the European market and then to all tourists.

The ICT considered that reaching a third of visitors compared to the previous year, is a good result under the circumstances, since many of Costa Rica’s competitors barely reached 5%.

The end of 2020 allowed the tourism sector to recover a bit. Photo: Courtesy ICT.

Gradual increase

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The report indicates that 71,000 tourists arrived in the country by air in December 2020, almost doubling the arrivals in November 2020 when 36,044 tourists visited, according to data from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería – Costa Rica’s immigration service, and analyzed by the ICT.

These figures indicate a recovery, albeit very slow, in tourist visits to Costa Rica, detailed the ICT.

In December 2019, a total of 134,624 tourists from the United States arrived by air, Costa Rica’s major tourist market.

Read more: ICT seeks to make COVID-19 tests cheaper for tourists returning to the United States

“The uncertainty and restrictions derived from the pandemic caused world tourism to collapse and the country received a third of the tourists than normal in Costa Rica,” said Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura.

However, he emphasized, had the air and maritime borders were open only seven months of the year, of which only 4.5 months open to all the countries (January 1 to March 23 and November and December).

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“Each tourist who visits Costa Rica contributes to recovering the tourism sector, a process that, as we have repeatedly pointed out, will be gradual. Tourist visitation also activates a series of productive chains,” explained the Minister.

Read more: U.S. to require pre-flight Covid tests for all international travelers

Segura added that the reactivation with the United States behaves much better than with Europe since that continent had to return to new confinements due to the impact of the pandemic.

European countries with the most visitors in 2019 were France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands (Holland), the ICT said in the statement.


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We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

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