Surfing Games To Bring Influx of Tourists

July 31, 2009

The global economic crisis has not been kind to the Costa Rican tourism industry. In the first six months of 2009, Costa Rica has experienced a 16 percent decrease in the number of tourists compared to the first six months of 2008.

The Costa Rican Tourist Board (ICT) is hoping the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games will boost the struggling figures.

“Bringing the World Surfing Games to our country helps us promote tourism to millions of people who will be watching the competition,” said Carlos Benavides, minister of ICT. “At the same time, the participants and their guests will be able to enjoy the natural beauties of our country, which make us one of the top 10 destinations for surfers.”

According to ICT and ISA, at least 15,000 tourists will visit Jacó and Playa Hermosa, in the cantón of Garabito, during the nine- day surfing tournament. Also, an estimated 120 media outlets will be working on location and, according to ISA, an estimated 80 million people worldwide will tune in to watch the competition on television.

Coverage of the competition will be broadcast live on TV and on the Internet in four different languages.

What Has Been Done to Prepare? When Costa Rica was announced as the host of the games in September of 2008, the country had 10 months to prepare for its first-ever major international sporting event. Through the combined efforts of the Costa Rica Surfing Federation (FSC), ICT, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and the municipality of Garabito – which includes Jacó and Playa Hermosa – the beaches, hotels and city appear ready to go.

“The city looks beautiful,” said Carlos Brenes, spokesperson for the Costa Rican national team. “The beaches have been well maintained and are in great shape. The city is clean, and the hotels are prepared for their guests. The entire process has been well managed.”

The possibility that more than 15,000 people might descend upon the Jacó and Playa Hermosa areas called for organization and regimented preparation.

The first item on the agenda: lodging for tourists.

ISA, which partners with World Surfing Games sponsor Billabong, selected five hotels along the beaches as the official sites for the competition. These are Hotel Terraza del Pacífico, Best Western, DayStar Properties, Jacó Bay Ramada and the Sonesta Jacó Resort.

More than 100 people collaborated to provide the proper installations to attend to the needs of the anticipated guests, said Laura Martínez, representative for DayStar Properties.

Martínez also explained that, despite the opportunity to raise prices in response to the heightened demand, DayStar has continued to offer low-season rates.

The other pressing concerns for the competition were Internet and cell phone accessibility for the media, security, and preparation of beaches for heavy traffic.

ICE, the Costa Rican landline phone service provider, has set up phone and wireless Internet accessibility at the 12 beach locations that will host competition events.

ICE has also set up a bus – known as the “Technoride” – equipped with 12 Internetready portable computers for media representatives.

The security and beach maintenance efforts are being handled by ISA, the Costa Rica Surfing Federation ICE and the municipality of Garabito. During the past months, city representatives and members of the FSC have prepared the beaches, roads and parks for the event. ICE contributed by providing lights to the stands and event locations that will remain lit throughout the nights to deter crime in the area.

The opening ceremonies for the World Surfing Games will be today at 10 a.m. on the main street (Avenida Principal) of Jacó.

 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Oct. 22, 2018
Tico Times Weekly Digest
42 views
Tico Times Weekly Digest
42 views

The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Oct. 22, 2018

Alexander Villegas - October 22, 2018

It's Monday everyone. That means it's time for another dose of The Tico Times Weekly Digest. Here's the full list…

This week in the Peace Corps: Lessons from indigenous communities in Limón province
Changemakers
133 views
Changemakers
133 views

This week in the Peace Corps: Lessons from indigenous communities in Limón province

Crystal / Regional Peace Corps Leader - October 22, 2018

After four years with Peace Corps Costa Rica, I am reflective about living and working in indigenous communities throughout Limón…

CREAR: Enjoy, don’t destroy
Pic of the Day
510 views
Pic of the Day
510 views

CREAR: Enjoy, don’t destroy

Alissa Grosskopf - October 22, 2018

The association CREAR in Sámara, Guanacaste helps create social change by hosting art and social activities for children. They also…