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