Costa Rica celebrates World Tourism Day:



Lindsay Fendt / The Tico Times

The international community is celebrating World Tourism Day on Monday, which Costa Rica commemorated by launching a digital communications strategy showcasing pioneers in local industry.

A team from the Tourist Office (ICT) traveled to Puerto Jiménez, Sierpe, Caño Negro, Puerto Viejo (Limón) and Tárcoles to interview and photograph members of Costa Rica’s tourism sector as part of the first stop from the series “Rostros del Turismo”. Their stories will be shared through ICT’s social media pages.

A second series, scheduled for next year, will spotlight tourism workers from Guanacaste, La Fortuna, Sarapiquí and the Central Valley.

“On this date so important to all of us who form the tourism industry, I would like to congratulate the women and men of Costa Rica, those faces of tourism who work day after day to continue to position our country as a destination of well-being. be, “said Gustavo Segura, Minister of Tourism.

A similar initiative shares the voices of Costa Rica’s tourism sector through the Esencia Turismo podcast, available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Tourism is one of Costa Rica’s main economic engines. Before the pandemic, it contributed 8.2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and created 9% of the country’s jobs, according to the ICT.

The industry employs one in ten people on Earth, according to the United Nations. Tourism may not recover from the pandemic until 2023 or later, according to the UN, and developing countries “have suffered most of the impact of the pandemic on tourism.”

Tourism in Costa Rica in figures

Costa Rica received 3.1 million foreign visitors in 2019. Where did they all come from? Let’s dive into:

Most tourists have arrived from North America

Of the 3,139,008 international visitors to Costa Rica in 2019, more than half (1,666,571) came from North America. Of those, the vast majority are from the United States.

1.3 million people came from the United States, far more than any other country. In fact, all of Europe recorded “only” 500,602 visits to Costa Rica in 2019.

The 1,334,777 arrivals from the United States were up 5.5% from 2018. Canada’s 234,621 visitors in 2019 represented an even larger increase from 2018 with a jump of 8.1 %. Of course, the numbers fell in 2020 as the pandemic disrupted travel around the world.

Central America and Europe played a big role

After North America, Central America and Europe are the regions that generated the highest number of visitors to Costa Rica in 2019.

Nicaragua comprised the majority of entries from Central America; over 59% of arrivals to the region came from Costa Rica’s northern neighbors. (On a related note, Costa Rica says it received over 70,000 refugee applications from Nicaragua in 2018 and 2019 alone.)

As for Europe, Germany (80,580) narrowly edged the United Kingdom (78,562) in terms of visitors to Costa Rica. Unsurprisingly, the countries that have contributed the most to Costa Rica’s tourism industry (Germany, UK, France, Spain, and the Netherlands) all have airlines with direct flights here.

Air transport remains essential

Of the 3.1 million international visitors to Costa Rica, the vast majority arrived by air.

The Costa Rican Tourist Board recorded 2,418,300 arrivals by air, with the notable exception of Nicaraguans (only 4.4% came to Costa Rica by air, the majority using land border crossings).

Of the 2,418,300 international visitors who arrived in Costa Rica by air, 1,817,043 passed through Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela.

Just under 600,000 people passed through Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, an 8.5% increase over 2018. Guanacaste Airport recovered passenger traffic faster in 2021.

A quirk: North Korea’s tourism boom

Costa Rica received only one visitor from North Korea in 2019. They arrived in December 2019.


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