Eight businesses in the central Pacific beach town of Jacó have joined efforts to fight sex tourism, according to the daily La Nación.
Inside these hotels, restaurants and bars are signs explaining that the businesses welcome families and do not condone sex tourism. Billboards along the highway transmit the same message: “No Prostitution.”
An estimated 150 women work as prostitutes every night in Jacó, which has a reputation as a place where tourists can pay for sex, Fernando Villalobos, mayor of the canton of Garabito, told La Nación.
“We want to recover the image of Jacó as a place for families,”Villalobos said.
However, not all businesses owners have welcomed the idea of curbing prostitution.
“Behind this trade, there is a lot of money,”Villalobos said.
The daily Al Día reported that some Jacó prostitures earn as much as ¢1.5 million ($2,907) per month during the tourism high season – a salary comparable to that of top executives.
Businesses participating in the initiative to combat sex tourism include the hotels Best Western Jacó Beach,Mar de Luz, Flamboyant and Cabinas Alice, along with restaurants El Hicaco, Barco de los Mariscos and Barrels and the bar Plankton. Prostitution is ilegal in Costa Rica.