San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tourism Sector Decries Infrastructure Deficiencies

The National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) says Costa Rica has serious deficiencies in its infrastructure that could affect its growth.

CANATUR Director Alberto López said earlier this month at a press conference that although the tourism sector is estimated to have grown 17% in 2005, there are “great weaknesses in infrastructure” that have not been resolved by the government, pointing to roads he said are in a “terrible state.”

There are also “bad conditions at Immigration stations, which lead to impatience and a bad image of the country,” López said, remarking that that inefficiency at Immigration points hurts tourism within Central America.

López also remarked on work “paralyzed” at JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport, northwest of San José, for almost three years and at Liberia’s Daniel Oduber airport in the northwestern Guanacaste province.Work on Juan Santamaría resumed in January (TT, Jan 6).

López added that the tourism sector grew 14.3% in 2004 and is projected to have grown 17% in 2005, though official information has not yet been released. For 2006, however, CANATUR predicts growth of only 10-12%.

CANATUR president Eduardo Villafranca said that if deficiencies in infrastructure persist, the tourism sector could begin to shrink rather than grow.

CANATUR has already initiated contact with President-elect Oscar Arias, who will replace President Abel Pacheco May 8, Villafranca said, and with Arias’ future Tourism Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides.


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