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Defining the Tico Tourist: Costa Rica’s New Challenge in Gaining Visitors

Article Summary:

Costa Rica will have to adapt to their new “typical” visitor, a budget-conscience traveler who is looking for a bargain and spending less money while in the country. Government officials are hoping a new Tourism Act, which will provide enhanced security and attractive bank exchange rates,along with a reduction in paper work for investors will help Costa Rica rebound in 2012.

Original Article Text From Revista Summa via Google Translate :

Costa Rica: The Tourism Sector Experienced Years of Transition and Identifies Areas of Work for 2012

The year 2011 is summarized as a transition period for the tourism industry, marked by internal and external factors which have not enabled the sector this year to evaluate more positively, explained Juan Carlos Ramos, President of the National Tourism (CANATUR).

“The initial estimate of growth in visitor arrivals this year was 5% however, the 2011 did not allow the employer to receive a more vigorous recovery, as this depends on other variables such as spending, stay and other factors external directly or indirectly have impacted the sector, the world economy is also a difficult time making it impossible to experience an improved behavior in the business, “said Ramos.

Regarding visitation, this year saw a different behavior in each semester, as in the first six months reflected a 6.5% growth in tourist arrivals to Costa Rica, but the situation changed in the third quarter, when the air visitor arrivals decreased by 4% over the same period last year, this being the main access route to the country.

Another variable of importance, indicates that the generation of foreign exchange from tourism posted a growth of 4% for the first half over the same period last year, despite the visitors’ behavior remains cautious.

The governor stressed that such CANATUR behavior “is a global trend that has been recorded as a result of the crisis of 2008-2009, the tourist is cautious with their money and spends less of its financial resources during your vacation. This situation is evident in all tourism activities, from crafts to who sells the accommodation offered, “said Ramos.

To CANATUR are two external factors that have destabilized the growth of tourism in the country: the economic uncertainty of the world’s major economies and exchange rate policy currently applied by the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

Ramos explained, the austerity measures implemented by the United States and several European countries as a result of economic crisis, it generates an effect of concern because these are the main markets for attracting tourists to Costa Rica, also mentioned that the type of change has affected 18% turnover in the tourism business.

Priorities in 2012
CANATUR highlights three priority themes to be working for the tourism industry recorded higher growth in activity.

1. Policy of competitiveness:
For the country should realize CANATUR significant advances in areas that qualify the country’s competitiveness, among which the legal framework, infrastructure, legal certainty, tape and safety.

According to Ramos, is currently in the legislative power projects of direct interest to the tourism sector among which the proposed Tourism Act and the regulation and marketing of alcoholic beverages, however, they have not made greater progress in Although the process began more than three years.

The draft Tourism Act aims to provide an updated framework for tourism, while the regulation and marketing of alcoholic beverages seeks to eliminate Prohibition during Holy Week, among other points of interest.

On the issue of infrastructure, the latest tourism competitiveness report, World Economic Forum, Costa Rica ranked in position 44 of ranquin, down two places from 2009 report, which indicates the state of the road network as the main factor that the country less competitive as a destination.

“It is a pressing need for all sectors but the poor state of road infrastructure becomes a matter of bad image for the country. The efforts of the employer to offer a quality destination can not be overshadowed by these serious deficiencies, “added Ramos.

The Chamber notes that the legal uncertainty and excessive paperwork process facing the investor are pitfalls that must be eliminated if the country aims to provide an attractive climate for the establishment of investment.

Ramos said he “cannot be changing the conditions for the investor, definitely hurts the country and the employer will choose other destinations that offer a sound legal framework allowing the development of investment.”

Moreover, the hierarch stressed the need to turn the country into a safe destination for those who visit it also noted that the Tourist Safety Committee has been carrying out actions CANATUR continuing to train in security sector, however, request a increased government involvement in the matter.

2. Type of Change:
CANATUR insists that the application of the current exchange rate policy destabilizes the profitability of companies and advocates a more equitable system for both importing and exporting industry.

The governor of the House said that a better exchange rate behavior will provide greater financial stability to the tourism industry, however, stressed the concern of the impact that is causing the exchange rate differential and to continue this trend, the margin of loss will remain in It calls for increased government intervention in the matter.

3. Diversification of markets and tourism product:
CANATUR considers it appropriate to design a promotional strategy aimed at three markets: domestic, regional and emerging markets.

“The regional market and have the advantage of being more accessible to developing marketing plans, obtaining results at a lower term is also essential to diversify into emerging markets represent great potential in the issue of costs and for tourists spending, so that the greater number of markets to capture the country tourists have, the less dependence on traditional markets, “said Ramos.

Furthermore, it should give impetus to tourism products that are experiencing strong rallies as medical tourism, also calls for the early commencement of construction of the Convention Center and this will allow the country to compete in the tourism business.

The Chamber argues that according to the target of 5% annual growth in visitation raised by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism in the National Sustainable Tourism Plan 2011-2016, is a reasonable goal, however depend on the behavior of the global economy as well as issues regarding the country’s own exchange rate and future impact on the sector with the approval of the Tax Solidarity Project.

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From Revista Summa

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