Costa Rica has been incentivizing tourism for many years now, as a result, tourist economic activity now represents nearly 20% of their yearly GDP.
The first trimester of 2016 served to set tourism as perhaps the most crucial area of the Costa Rican economy. Figures recently disclosed by the Promotora de Comercio Exterior, a Costa Rican foreign trade authority, showed that tourism generated 20% of the revenue considered in their GDP. Furthermore, tourism represented 48% of the country’s service exports, 15% more than what it did on the previous trimester.
Mauricio Ventura, Costa Rica’s minister of tourism commented: “The numbers provided by Procomer, as well as those provided by the Central Bank of Costa Rica back up the importance of tourist activity, and the transcendental weight it holds in our economy.”
Ventura also highlighted the importance of tourism as a source of employment. As of now, 600,000 people are employed directly or indirectly by tourist industries, a number that represents 27% of the country’s workforce.
One of the virtues of tourism as an industry, highlighted Ventura, is that it “democratizes income”, by distributing almost evenly throughout the national territory.
Following the announcement, the tourism industry in Costa Rica got another piece of good news: French carrier Air France would be inaugurating its first direct flight Paris-San Jose. The decision comes as a sign of trust in a booming destination.
Air France will be flying twice weekly to Costa Rica, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in Boeing 777-300 planes, with a maximum capacity of 468 passengers.
Costa Rican president, Luis Guillermo Solis praised the decision and argued in favor of the many benefits he believes it will bring to the country. For once, he stated that it will “help bring two geographically distant countries, that share the colors in their flag, a commitment to environmental protection, the fight against climate change and a strong will to defend human rights.”
France stood as the top provider of arriving tourists in the first trimester of the year, with 30,423 arrivals.
The next step for Costa Rica is to consolidate as a sustainable tourist destination.
The announcement that Costa Rica was now producing 100% of its energy off renewable sources gave the country an added touristic value, as travelers can now visit the country and cause next to no environmental damage during their stay.
Additionally, 25% of Costa Rica’s land constitutes environmentally protected territory, which should help ease the conscience of eco-minded tourists.
Costa Rica is assuring the compliance with ecologically sustainable practices through Touristic Sustainability Certificates, handed out to service providers which helps incentivize private companies to take ecological practices to the next level. Currently, there are 342 businesses in Costa Rica that hold said certificate.