San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tourism sector looks to counter World Cup drop in business with new promotions

The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) on Thursday will relaunch a promotion campaign titled “¡Vamos a turistear!” (Let’s go sightseeing!) to encourage local tourists to take advantage of green season deals.

Hotels and other lodging businesses saw occupancy numbers drop by 10 percent during the month-long FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, and the current strategy aims to recover some of that lost revenue.

According to a survey by the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) ahead of the World Cup, lodging businesses expected an occupancy rate of 67.6 percent during the tournament. But the actual rate was 57.6 percent.

A full list of special promotions will be announced on Thursday morning and will be available at the campaign’s website.

Chamber leaders recommend tourism business owners avoid extreme low-pricing strategies that could affect operating costs, instead focusing on adding value to services, according to CANATUR President Pablo Abarca.

“Added value can come from offering free breakfasts or additional nights,” Abarca said, “to free guided tours or free transportation.”

Some half a million families travel nationally twice a year, spending an estimated ₡250,000 ($470) each, according to ICT data.

Discounts for the “¡Vamos a turistear!” campaign usually range from 30-50 percent during the green season, which runs from March to June and from August to the second week of December.

Contact L. Arias at

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