San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New London Flight, Cruise Ship Announced

The charter air company First Choice plans to begin direct flights from Gatwick, London, to DanielOduberInternationalAirport in Liberia, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, starting next May.

Additinally, the British cruise ship company OceanVillage also plans to dock in the Caribbean port of Limón, bringing some 2,000 passengers to the port city once every 10 days, beginning next October, according to Tourism Minister Carlos Benavides.

The minister went to the World Trade Market fair in London earlier this month to find ways to attract more tourists to Costa Rica (TT, Nov. 17).

Benavides said the slow growth of the country’s tourism industry has been in large part because of high fuel prices that discouraged airlines from flying to Costa Rica.

“We’re also trying to convince the United States and Canadian airlines to come back,” he said, adding that the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) is looking at setting up offices in those two countries.

He rejected the notion that Costa Rica’s slowed tourism growth is the result of recent growth in competing tourism sectors in other Central American countries.

Costa Rica, he said, attracts higherincome tourists than the rest of Central America, and thus is a more direct competitor with Australia, Thailand and other Asian countries.


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