San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica tourism still a bull market

During the first six months of the year, 1.03 million foreign tourists visited Costa Rica, an increase of 12.5 percent (89,178 tourists) over the same period last year, according to estimates by the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR).

In addition, 86 percent of tourism operators said the first half of 2008 was as good or as better for them than the same period in 2007.

Estimates on the number of visits to the country were generated using arrival data from the country´s two main international airports, Juan Santamaría west of San José and Daniel Oduber, in Liberia, the northwestern capital of Guanacaste province. Juan Santamaría reported an increase in traffic of 13.1 percent to 673,701 passengers. Traffic to Daniel Oduber grew by slightly less, 9.7 percent to 129,623 passengers. An estimate of arrivals through cruise ships was then added to this number.

“The estimates and projections reveal very positive data for Costa Rican tourism, despite difficult economic conditions abroad and at home,” explained Gonzálo Vargas, president of CANATUR. “We can assert based on the first semester that Costa Rica continues to be regarded by foreigners as an ideal place where to enjoy their vacations.”

CANATUR also conducted a survey of 50 of its members located throughout the country. Of these, 46 percent described the first semester of this year as very similar to the same period last year. Some 40 percent of those surveyed said the first six months of this year represented an improvement over the same period last year. The remaining 14 percent considered the first half of this year to be worse than the same period last year.

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