San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica’s tourism sector expects a boost in visitors, but not in new jobs

Six out of 10 tourism businesses expect this year’s high season to be better than last year’s, according to a study released Wednesday by the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR).

Yet greater demand won’t necessarily translate to new jobs. Some 70 percent of surveyed tourism business owners said they would not be hiring new workers this season, which began in December and ends in March.

CANATUR said that 59 percent of employers believe the high season will be “much better” or “better” than the same period last year, while 34 percent expect tourism business to remain unchanged.

Only 7 percent of respondents said tourism demand would be “worse” or “much worse” than last year’s high season.

“This season represents a big opportunity, as a bigger flow of tourists entering the country is expected, and they will be requiring a lot of services. However, the country must address challenges like increasing investment in security, infrastructure and other areas in order to maintain Costa Rica’s status as an attractive destination that offers a unique experience for our visitors,” CANATUR President Isabel Vargas said.

The chamber study also indicates that job creation in the tourism sector has stagnated.

“Our industry has been hit hard by high energy bills and operating costs, so employers now are very cautious about creating new jobs,” Vargas added.

CANATUR surveyed 205 business owners from hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, car rentals and restaurants. The study was conducted from the last week of November through early December.

Expected demand for tourism services

Contact L. Arias at

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