San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Number of Tourists Increases over Last Year

Approximately 356,800 tourists came to Costa Rica during the first two months of this year, marking a 7.6% increase over the same period last year, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

However, this increase shows less tourism growth than the country saw from 2004 to 2005, when the number of tourists to Costa Rica increased by 30,000, or 9.9%, the daily La Nación reported.

National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) Director Alberto López attributed the decrease in growth during the first two months of this year to escalating international gas prices that make travel more costly.

Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels president Manuel Rodríguez agreed expensive flights are to blame.

Six months ago, you could get flights (to Costa Rica) from the United States for between $400 and $500, and now they run about $700, Rodríguez said.

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