San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Election economics

Costa Rica's tourism sector opposes 'dry law' on Election Day

The National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) wants to eliminate a law that allows municipalities to ban alcohol sales during Election Day next Sunday (also Super Bowl Sunday).

Twelve municipalities in recent days reported they will enforce the prohibition, but tourism entrepreneurs say they have scheduled marketing strategies with months of anticipation, CANATUR President Isabel Vargas said.

“The government is showing no consideration for the effects of this measure, which will harm tourism and restaurants that must refrain from providing services to people not involved (in the elections),” the chamber argued in a statement.

CANATUR believes that leaving the decision up to each municipality “dilutes the purpose of the restriction, as it is not functional unless they enforce it nationally,” the statement said.

Vargas called the ban an irrational and archaic measure, and said municipalities “that will implement the ban are surrounded by others that will not.”

Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH) President Rubén Pacheco also criticized municipalities that are implementing the ban.

“This cannot continue; it seems like we are moving backwards in a country that is unaware of the importance of the tourism sector,” he said.

Entrepreneurs also are concerned of the possibility of a second-round vote in April, as suggested by recent polls.

“This would mean that we should endure yet another dry-law period,” Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants (CACORE) President Jorge Figueroa said.

CANATUR this week is lobbying in undecided municipalities, joining the CCH and COCORE.

Contact L. Arias at

Log in to comment