Costa Rica tourism growing despite pandemic

Costa Rica still relies on the United States for the majority of its international tourism

Costa Rica in April welcomed 89,284 international arrivals, the most in a single month since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Last month’s arrival numbers represent a 66% decrease compared to April 2019. But that’s still an improvement over any full month during the Covid era.

Let’s look at the charts:

Where is everyone coming from? Unsurprisingly, Costa Rica still relies on the United States for the majority of its international tourism:

Tourism remains one of Costa Rica’s primary economic drivers, and the government has made deliberate efforts to exclude tourism activities from coronavirus restrictions.

Even as the country faces record hospitalizations and deaths related to Covid-19, Costa Rica has opted to keep its borders open to international visitors and doesn’t require a negative test for entry.

Whether that’s the right decision is well above my pay grade, but on the surface it doesn’t seem to be hurting Costa Rica’s reputation as a vacation option.

Costa Rica is perceived as an ideal destination by tourism professionals, and prominent publications — from USA Today to Conde Nast — have featured the country in recent stories.

Finally, all U.S. airlines that flew to Costa Rica before the pandemic have already resumed their service or will soon. (Southwest was the last holdout.) Costa Rica even added a new airline: Frontier announced its return after a multi-year absence.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently predicted that global air passenger numbers will beat pre-pandemic numbers by 2023. Costa Rica seems well-positioned to benefit.


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