San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Limón Launches Cruise Ship Season

THE 2004-2005 cruise-ship season,officially inaugurated by TourismMinister Rodrigo Castro last week,promises to be a big one, with 70,000more visitors anticipated than during theprevious season.The Costa Rican Tourism Institute(ICT) said in a statement that more than300,000 tourists from the cruise ships thatstop in Costa Rica’s Caribbean port townLimón, are expected in the next eightmonths.With each visitor spending between$80-120 per visit, the projected increasemeans millions of dollars of growth forthe region’s economy.In addition to the cruise lines thatalready visit Limón, including PrincessCruises, Celebrity Cruises, CarnivalCruises and Royal Caribbean, six newships are expected this season from companiesincluding World Cruises andNorwegian Cruise Line. The ships’ itinerariesgenerally consist of eight dayswith stops in at least three ports.Castro emphasized in the ICT statementthat while Limón has the naturalbeauty to make it a world-class touristdestination, it requires improved maintenanceand urban beautification projects toensure it can take advantage of theincreased tourist numbers.ICT expects to invest ¢96 million(approximately $215,000) in such projectsthis year, in addition to the ¢18 million($40,000) it invested during Limón’sCarnaval, an annual street festival thatended Monday.

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