San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tourism growth in 2011 takes a hit with 3rd quarter numbers

Costa Rica’s National Tourism Chamber (Canatur) has reported that international tourist arrivals to airports dropped 3.9 percent during the year’s third quarter. San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport and Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport reported 312,659 combined tourist arrivals from July through September, 12,275 less than the same period last year.
Costa Rica welcomed a record 2.1 million tourists in 2010 and Canatur projected a five percent increase for 2011. The organization has voiced concern that the third quarter results could threaten that goal.

Canatur is requesting that the Costa Rican Tourism Board consider new marketing directives that would target a wider spectrum of international tourists. The Costa Rican Tourism Board unveiled a new marketing campaign in the United States and Canada this October, but Canatur says emphasis should also be placed on emerging markets in Russia, China and Brazil.

“We need to compete in new markets to ensure sustained activity, knowing that these new markets could come to represent important percentages like what we currently see from the United States and Canada. We also encourage national businesses to continue promoting strategies directed at local and regional toursim because these are markets of rapid growth,” said Juan Carlos Ramos, president of Canatur.

The report also indicates that international arrivals to Daniel Oduber (Liberia) International Airport, in the northwest province of Guancaste, has increased by 15.5 percent. Juan Santamaría International Airport reported a .17 percent drop, about 1,518 less tourists than the same period last year. The Daniel Oduber airport is finishing construction on a new terminal that’s expected to open in November.

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