San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica to close year with a record number of tourists

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) estimates that by the end of 2012, 2.3 million tourists will have visited the country.

If the projections are correct, that number could break the record set in 2011, when 2.1 million tourists entered the country, according to the ICT.

Tourism Minister Allan Flores said in a press release that one of the reasons for the improvement is the increase in the frequency of flights, as well as the arrival of new airlines into the country. According to ICT figures, most foreign visitors arrived by air.

This year, several airlines increased flights to Costa Rica, including Iberia Airlines (5 percent increase in the number of flights from Madrid to San José), AeroMexico (two new daily flights between San José and Mexico City), and Copa Airlines (two weekly flights from Liberia to Panama).

Flores also noted that between September 2011 and June 2012, Costa Rica participated in 27 international events to promote itself as a tourist destination.

One of the government projects for next year is the construction of the National Congress and Convention Center, which could also help increase the number of tourists.

However, some groups dispute the official tourism numbers released by the ICT, saying they include temporary workers and other non-tourism visitors.

Contact L. Arias at

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