Friday 2 December 2022

With lower cost for business, Costa Rica will enjoy 16 long weekends

The bill will transfer holidays to the following or previous Monday to stimulate local tourism

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2 December 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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(QCOSTARICA) The bill that transfers the holidays for the following or previous Monday, with the aim of promoting local tourism, economic recovery, and job creation, was approved in the first debate on Tuesday.

Carlos Ricardo Benavides, legislator for the PLN party and former president of the Legislative Assembly

If the news seems a repeat, it is. The earlier bill, also approved in first debate by a majority on June 18, failed to obtain sufficient support to second and final debate, and unleashed a war between legislators, former president of the Legislative Assembly, Ricardo Benavides and Roberto Thompson.

Benavides won out over Thompson, both of the PLN party, using a regulatory strategy to return the bill to commission, in order to reduce from seven to four the number of holidays that would create long weekends.

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According to the bill approved yesterday (June 30), workers will enjoy 16 long weekends between 2020 and 2024, transferring legal holidays to the following or previous Monday.

The aim of the bill is to promote local tourism, economic recovery, and job creation.

According to Thompson, the loser is the tourism sector, since the new approved bill has fewer holidays transferred than the original text.

For his part,  Benavides argued, “Moving all the holidays to a Monday would have a high cost for companies and the State” that would imply a higher cost for companies that must operate on Mondays considered holidays since they have to pay a double salary; However, if it is considered that the original proposal involved up to seven transfers of this type for 2020 and 2021, entrepreneurs will have a lower cost for promoting tourism.

Tourism is one of the main engines of the economy and development of Costa Rica, employing more than 211,000 people directly. In 2019, it generated more than US$4 billion in foreign currency, which represents 8% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The tourism sector has been in check since mid-March when the Carlos Alvarado government decided to restrict borders (last week extended to August 1) because of the Covid-19.

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This has caused thousands of people to lose their jobs, while companies in the sector struggle to survive.

In this sense, the government and businessmen are aware that local tourism will be essential to boost the industry.

“We have explained that the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), like the private companies affiliated with its chambers and associations, has stopped receiving fresh resources due to the crisis unleashed by Covid-19, that the reactivation will be gradual and slow, which there are no magic solutions and that the priority market for the revival of tourism will be the national market, just as it will happen in other countries,” said María Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism.

The calendar

This is the holiday transfer schedule for a Monday between 2020 and 2024. The idea is that the transfer enables long weekends to encourage local tourism. For the period there will be 16 changes.

2020

Holiday Transfer
Saturday, July 25 (Guanacaste Day) Monday, July 27
Saturday, August 15 (Mother’s Day) Monday, August 17
Tuesday, September 15 (Independence Day) Monday, September 14
Tuesday, December 1, (Abolition of Army Day) Monday, November 30
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2021

Holiday Transfer
Saturday, May 1 (Labor Day) Monday, May 3
Sunday, July 25 (Guanacaste Day) Monday, July 26
Wednesday, September 15 (Independence Day) Monday, September 13
Wednesday, December 1, (Abolition of Army Day) Monday, November 26

 

2022

Holiday Transfer
Thursday, September 15 (Independence Day) Monday, September 19
Thursday, December 1, (Abolition of Army Day) Monday, December 5

 

2023

Holiday Transfer
Tuesday, April 11 (Juan Santamaria Day) Monday, April 10
Tuesday, July 25 (Guanacaste Day) Monday, July 24
Tuesday, August 15 (Mother’s Day) Monday, August 14

 

2024

Holiday Transfer
Thursday, April 11 (Juan Santamaria Day) Monday, April 15
Thursday, July 25 (Guanacaste Day) Monday, July 29
Thursday, August 15 (Mother’s Day) Monday, August 19

 

The bill now requires second debate and voting, the signature of President Carlos Alvardo if approved and published in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta, to go into effect.

This process, if there is the political will power to get it done, can take as little as a few days (as was done with the sanctions for the vehicular restrictions), or weeks, months, or the whenever.

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