A study conducted by the World Economic Forum has ranked Costa Rica as the fourth most competitive tourism location in the Americas, behind Canada, the U.S. and Barbados. Using criterion that analyzed 14 areas of tourism and travel, the study ranked 133 countries of the world on a 6-point scale to create the “travel and tourism competitiveness index.” Costa Rica was given an overall score of 4.42, ranking 42nd in the world and 4th in the Americas.
The 14 areas of travel and tourism rated by the study included environmental sustainability, safety and security, health and hygiene, infrastructure, natural resources and human resources, among others. According to the summary supplied by the World Economic Forum, Costa Rica ranks sixth in the world in the category of natural resources and 27th overall for environmental sustainability. The study applauded Costa Rica for its high percentage of lands in nationally protected areas and its diverse fauna.
“Costa Rica counts on a large amount of natural spaces, which attracts many tourists who are hoping to travel to destinations that are developing methods to contribute to the protection of the environment,” said Juan Carlos Ramos, the President of CANATUR. “The results of this study confirm that the commitment to maintaining the environment should be a strategy for the country to continue to work to become a sustainable destination, making Costa Rica an attractive destination for people from around the world.”
On the other end of the scale, Costa Rica ranked 72nd in the safety and security of travelers and 103rd in ground transportation, including roads and ports. The study referred to ground transportation in the country as “somewhat difficult.”
“Without security, we cannot develop tourism,” Ramos said. “(The government) should think about and implement actions that will allow the country to be considered in the future as not only a destination that focuses on sustainability, but also a place where vacationers can have a peaceful stay.”
According to CANATUR, in 2009 Costa Rica welcomed over 1,922 million tourists, who generated over $2 billion for the economy.