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Costa Rica Tourism Sets New Record in 2013

February 4, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

The stats are in: Costa Rica set a new high for tourism in 2013.

After the collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008, tourism and real estate in Costa Rica were greatly affected. American visitors historically represented nearly 40% of the tourism to the country, and with less spending money than ever, planned trips to Costa Rica were cancelled and delayed. While the economy of the San Jose area continued to flourish, the beach areas suffered due to their dependency on foreign tourism.gI_137057_Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

In 2013 Costa Rica welcomed a total of 2.42 million visitors—an increase of 3.6% from 2012. 1.6 million of these visitors arrived by air, and 800,000 arrived by sea. This data is confirmed and supported by both the ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Board) and also the World Tourism Organization.

Canatour, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, stated that to maintain a steady and sustainable increase in tourism in 2014, it will require government action in the form of reduced energy costs and improved infrastructure. Country-wide, there are over half a million people directly involved in the tourism industry—and this is largely focused on the coast.

Areas such as Quepos & Manuel Antonio are well positioned for future growth. For several years, the local municipality has been focusing its efforts on the improvement of local roads, parks and other infrastructure. A few years ago the problematic aqueduct was replaced, and currently the entire electrical system is being upgraded. Cell phone service used to be limited only to certain areas around town, but is now everywhere. In addition to several new parks in Quepos is the ‘malecon’—a pedestrian-only esplanade along the waterfront which hosts a colorful Saturday farmer’s market. Other improvements, such as the new Pez Vela marina or airport expansion will only further open up the area for increased tourism.

“This is all good news for local business owners and vacation rental agencies,” quoted Kent Thompson, the manager at the Shana Residences luxury condominiums. “With the increase in the number of vacation rental homes and condos in the area during the past five years, we need the increased tourism to help balance things out.”

The good news is that 2014 is shaping up to be a positive year for tourism in Costa Rica. As the U.S. economy continues to improve, and people have more disposable income—and time—the planned and procrastinated trip to Costa Rica is back on the calendar.

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