San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica named top tourism destination in new global survey

Rain forests, volcanoes, world-class beaches, great weather, sloths, what’s not to like? A new global survey confirmed that tourists love Costa Rica, naming the country most recommended tourism destination in the world.

The Global Tourism Monitor Survey asked 23,000 globetrotters from 26 countries where they had traveled during the previous 12 months and which destination they would more recommend based on their experience there. The report, released Monday, ranked the top 65 most recommended destinations.

Austria came in second, followed by Israel, New Zealand and Italy.

Ukraine, Malaysia, China, Indonesia and Tunisia were the five least recommended destinations, according to the survey conducted by BDRC Continental.

While Costa Rica placed atop the list of most recommended destination, no other Latin American country made the top 10.

Latin America and the Caribbean placed among the least popular regions with only 6 percent of respondents saying they were “seriously” planning to travel to the region. Europe ranked the highest among potential travelers with 43 percent planning to travel there, followed by 27 percent in the Asian Pacific. Only 4 percent said they planned to take their holiday in Africa or the Middle East.

Costa Rica received a record-breaking 2.4 million tourists during 2013, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Board.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most recommended destinations (with a three-way tie for 10th place):

1. Costa Rica
2. Austria
3. Israel
4. New Zealand
5. Italy
6. Japan
7. Croatia
8. USA
9. Norway
10. Canada
10. Greece
10. United Kingdom

…and the 10 least recommended:

56. Bulgaria
57. Russia
58. Albania
59. Cambodia
60. India
61. Ukraine
62. Malaysia
63. China
64. Indonesia
65. Tunisia

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Michael Leaverton


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Ken Morris

Well, Costa Rica does have the tourism thing down, so I’m not surprised that tourists like it.

However, note that the survey was of existing vacationers. It would thus be automatically weighted in favor of existing tourist hot spots, since the tourists obviously couldn’t rank the places they haven’t gone. Established tourist meccas like Costa Rica would therefore naturally do well.

The puzzle here is therefore Croatia and Mexico. Who the hell vacations in Croatia? By contrast, since at least lots of Americans vacation in Mexico, you have to wonder why it didn’t make the top ten.

Who knows. These surveys typically have lots of flaws–as well as lots of agendas that have little to do with the facts. Again, I’m not surprised that Costa Rica did well, since it is actually very good at tourism, but I wouldn’t invest money based upon the results of this seemingly skewed survey.

BTW, sorry, 2.4 million tourists did NOT visit Costa Rica last year. This number includes the Nicas coming and going for labor as well as the perpetual tourists who live here making their 90-day visa runs, not to mention the folks who come on business. Tourism is big in Costa Rica, about 13% of GDP if memory serves, but I have no idea why anyone wants to inflate the numbers. I suppose it’s to justify more government support.

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Carlos Castro Pantera

Proud of my country …

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P Mattingly

Sorry. Don’t believe it.

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Carlos Castro Pantera

hater !!!

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That’s a bit of a bought and paid for survey. I find it really really hard to believe that anyoen visited Greece and felt like they’d go back. I know someone in Greece. He had to buy a shotgun to protect his family from the roving gangs of rioters in his city. I don’t really think ANYONE should be visiting there.

On the other hand, I do love the tourist spots in Costa Rica; they are a treasure. Especially Monteverde. Although, if pictures of the mind bending poverty in Guarari en Heredia ever made it to the newspapers, I doubt anyone would be in a hurry to come visit this country. Always pictures of the sparkling clean rivers, and not the ones full of feces and laundry detergent…. Tsk tsk.

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It’s very easy for a tourist to travel around a foreign country without ever running into its bad spots. I was in Greece last year, both in Athens and to the south, and I ran into no problems. It’s even easier to avoid trouble in Costa Rica as a tourist.

We can take an opposite example, China. Chinese cities tend to be extremely safe. But it’s horribly boring there, and its cities feel lifeless despite the tens of millions of people living in each one. (Note: If you want to travel to China, I highly suggest Hong Kong. It’s the best city by far).

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