Many have asked if Costa Rica is suffering economically from decreased travel or investment and home buying as cash-strapped foreigners deal with world-wide economies suffering from high oil prices and other regional issues such as the U.S. home mortgage crisis. It should go without saying that Costa Rica is definitely concerned – especially with fears of a full-blown economic recession in the United States. After all, Americans accounted for 54% of the 1.9 million visitors that traveled to Costa Rica in 2007.Feel free to visit best times to travel to Costa Rica for additional information.
Just recently the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) launched an aggressive $14 million dollar U.S. marketing and advertising campaign over the Internet and through a public relations agency hired in New York to promote Costa Rica as an exotic destination that is closer and less expensive than similarly marketed destinations such as Thailand and other Asian countries.
Europe is the second largest market for Costa Rica tourism, accounting for 17% of the visitors. The majority of the European travelers are from Spain, Germany, France, England, and Italy. In addition to these countries, the ICT is intensifying publicity in the growing markets of Russia, France and Switzerland. Marketing Costa Rica to Asian markets is on the agenda as well. Last year an agreement was signed with China, adding Costa Rica as a tourist destination.
With so many different countries choosing Costa Rica as a first-tier vacation location, the ICT predicts a tourist growth rate of 6% in 2008. This in addition to the 10.15% increase achieved just last year.
Costa Rica as a Destination for Entrepreneurs:
Surveys of Costa Rica tourists indicate they are well educated and spend considerable discretionary income on travel. The majority are adventurous with their choices of activities and accommodations and plan their own trips versus relying on travel agents. These primarily American tourists are; affluent, college educated with over 90% having bachelors or graduate degrees, middle aged, and married without children living at home. Their education and income levels indicate they are high-end travelers that are somewhat recession proof.
Activities in Costa Rica:
Conservative travel activities and moderate length of stay are favored by the typical Costa Rica traveler. The majority of the first-time travelers prefer Costa Rica more than any other Latin American destination that they had visited based on Costa Rica’s ecotourism and its unspoiled environment. The primary activities of these travelers are:
-Beach and Waterfront Activities
Rank of Latin American Countries:
The fact that Costa Rica was ranked as the number-one destination among Latin American countries indicates its current worldwide attractiveness as one of the worlds top tourist destinations.
Rank of World-Wide Countries:
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) projects the increase in world-wide international tourist arrivals to be around 3 percent for 2008 … while projecting Costa Rica’s 2008 tourism increase to be around 10 percent .
Costa Rica has been a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for three years and in October, 2008 Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, was appointed to head the UNWTO Executive Council. “The appointment is a high recognition of Costa Rica’s efforts in sustainable tourism. [Costa Rica] has become a model and leader in this arena,” said Minister Benavides.
According to Minister Benavides; “This position plays an important role within the WTO as it helps to lead and approve … important topics such as poverty eradication through tourism in developing countries, fair economic distribution, as well as conversation, protection and adequate use of natural resources.
Travel to Costa Rica:
Last year, seven new airlines began flying to Costa Rica; four U.S. and three European. These new flight options represented an increase in 675,000 available seats for a grand total of 2.7 million annual airline seats to Costa Rica – which is a 33% increase over the last several years. Costa Rica is now working to attract two new low-cost American airlines as well as a giant European airline interested in adding Costa Rica as a new destination.