THE northwestern province ofGuanacaste registered the greatestincrease in construction in the country lastyear, according to statistics from theCosta Rican Construction Chamber(CCC).The region, which is home to CostaRica’s second international airport locatedin Liberia, saw construction grow by 79%in 2004, when compared to the total numberof square meters in construction permitsgranted in 2003. A total of 306,000square meters of construction permitswere granted last year.That province was followed byLimón, with 71% growth, and Puntarenas,with 53% growth.Tourism projects led the growth inthese regions, although developers havealso invested in commercial and industrialprojects, according to Miguel Tapia,chamber finance director.Tapia attributed the growth in part tolow interest rates for construction. Totalgrowth in Costa Rica was 19.5%, a reductionfrom the 40% growth registered in2003, which was so dramatic becauseconstruction growth in 2002 was limitedin comparison.“For growth to continue, it is importantwe see reforms in the public economicsector. While private construction in,for example, condominiums has grown,the public investment in infrastructure andservices has been static. This mustchange,” Tapia said.Heredia was the only province that didnot register an increase in construction lastyear compared to 2003.