Tourism slump expected for Semana Santa

March 27, 2009

For many tourism outlets throughout the country, Semana Santa, or Easter Week, is traditionally a final shot at full hotel rooms and busy restaurants, before the heavy rains of the green season wash away the crowds.

This year, however, the economic slump has hit the tourism industry hard. With an eye on their wallets, many travelers have elected to stay home in order to save a couple bucks, and Easter Week is shaping up to be no exception.

According to the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR), 71.2 percent of tourism-related businesses report that reservations are down compared to last year´s Semana Santa.

The chamber, which surveyed 52 tourism outlets, said that 19.2 percent of businesses reported similar numbers as last year, while 3.8 have seen reservations rise.

Those that reported a decrease saw reservations decline by an average of 38.1 percent compared with last year. Hardest hit were tour guides, car rental agencies and hotels, the chamber said.

Sue Kalmbach, owner of La Paloma Lodge in Drake Bay, on the Southern Zone´s Osa Peninsula, says reservations are down 50 percent compared to last year´s Easter Week. More and more tourists are waiting later to make reservations, however, so she hopes that things will pick up over the next week.

“We are exceptionally slow this year,” Kalmbach said. “I think people are waiting, and I hope that, little by little, they keep coming.”

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