San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's standing in business tourism is sub-par, says sector leader

Costa Rica´s pull factor for business tourism is set to get a needed boost this month, a leader in the sector said.

COCAL, Latin America´s congress consortium, is hosting a major event in San José from March 10 to 14, inviting some 250 companies dedicated to drawing conferences and other business events (see

About 14 percent of Costa Rica´s visitors are here travelling on business, according to Leonel Bonilla, president of the Association of Professional Organizers of Congresses and Related Events of Costa Rica. However, he said, this country has “inadequate development in the business tourism field in relation to other Central American countries.”

Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador have concentrated their efforts toward attracting business events, building convention centers big enough to house major international congresses. These countries also have created specific policies directed at promoting themselves as prime business travel destinations, Bonilla said.

Costa Rica should take advantage of its “natural attractiveness, international prestige, strategic location and air travel accessibility” to improve its standing in the market, he said.

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