QCOSTARICA – The restrictions for travelers imposed by the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Spain and the United Kingdom, six of the main sources of tourists by air to Costa Rica, are part of the obstacles that delay the reactivation of international tourism.
Despite this, to enter Costa Rica it is only necessary to fill out the health pass and purchase medical insurance.
In the wake of the pandemic, the six countries took different measures for travelers, ranging from suspending international travel, filling out a health control form, submitting an affidavit and a negative PCR test result, as well as quarantining.
According to the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, these restrictions are “respectable and understandable”, however, they discourage non-essential travel to our country.
“To achieve the full reactivation of tourism, it is key that the pandemic throughout the world is under control and this will take time. How long? We do not know, but we trust that vaccination will help tourists regain confidence in traveling and the measures required by the different markets will become more flexible,” said the Minister of Tourism.
The restrictions established by the three North American countries, and by France, Spain and the United Kingdom, create an uncertain scenario for the reactivation of international tourism to Costa Rica, because these markets contributed 74% of arrivals by air, according to data of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Institute Board, for the period 2015 to 2019.
The president of the Cámara Nacional de Turismo (Canatur) – National Chamber of Tourism, Rubén Acón, confirmed that it had already been estimated that the recovery of the sector would be delayed. Organizations such as the World Tourism Organization (WHO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimate that world tourism will pick up in three to five years.
“So it is known that for this year we are going to do between 20% and 25% of the volume of 2019, due to issues such as the situation of each country in terms of the pandemic, the connectivity of the airlines and the confidence and the situation economic of each tourist,” said Acón.
Of the six countries, Mexico is the one with the fewest restrictions because people only have to fill out a health questionnaire.
In terms of “rigidity” in the measures, Spain and the United States follow.
Tto enter Spain, it is necessary that all people undergo a sanitary control when they arrive, which includes taking a temperature, filling out a Sanitary Control Form (FCS) and a visual control.
However, if the traveler arrives from a risk country, they must comply with the above and present a negative PCR test result, RT-LAMP or TMA.
On the other hand, to enter the United States, the visitor must present a negative result in the PCR or antigen test, which must be carried out a 3 days before travel, and a sworn statement in which it indicates being negative for coronavirus.
The most restrictive measures are in the United Kingdom, France and Canada.
Generally speaking, people who want to visit the United Kingdom must test negative for covid-19, fill out a passenger location form, isolate themselves for 10 days and take another test for SARS-CoV-2 in the second and eighth day of quarantine.
In France, all travel to and from countries outside the European space is prohibited, unless there are pressing grounds for travel. Travel to and from countries within the European space is strongly discouraged. If you are arriving from a country in the European space, you can enter France subject to rules stated on the French government website.
And then there is Canada, a country that suspended, until April 30, 2021, non-essential flights to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
However, according to the Canadian government portal, people who enter, through one of the four airports authorized to receive international flights: Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal, must present a negative result of the covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before travel.
Canada has extended travel restrictions until March 21 for U.S. travellers, and until April 21 for travellers from other countries.
Passengers arriving from a country are not allowed to enter until April 21, 2021 (March 21 for U.S. travellers), unless they are Canadian citiznes, permanent residents of Canada.
Upon arriving in Canada, all have to undergo another covid test, then they must stay in an authorized hotel – located near the arrival airport – for three nights, waiting for the test results; the cost of the tests and the lodging are the responsibility of the traveler and are around CA$2,000.
Those who test negative will be able to go leave the hotel and to their destination where they will serve the rest of the 14-day quarantine; those who test positive will be relocated to a designated quarantine site to complete isolation and at the end of that period undergo another test.