THE “Costa Rica Travel Mart”(EXPOTUR) is turning 21 this year, andmore than 300 businesses from around theworld will be there for the party.The exposition, organized each yearby the Costa Rican Association ofTourism Professionals (ACOPROT), wasfounded in 1984 in an attempt to breathelife into the country’s tourism industry. Inthe years since, Costa Rica has becomethe region’s tourism leader, and EXPOTURhas become a major internationalevent. This year’s exposition will includepromoters from Central America –Nicaragua, Panama and Guatemala – aswell as businesses from Mexico, theUnited States and the Caribbean, accordingto event director Pablo Solano.The event, to be held May 31-June 2at the Hotel Herradura, west of San José,will feature educational workshops, businessmeetings and a trade show oftourism-related products and services. Ofthe businesses participating as “sellers,”50 – 18.5% of the total – are participatingin EXPOTUR for the first time, Solanotold The Tico Times in an e-mail.Of those new businesses, 35 are CostaRican, he said.The “buyers” were still registering atpress time, but Solano estimated 42% ofthem will be new to the event, most fromthe United States.THE tourism association will offerpre- and post-circuits, tours of populartourist attractions in different regions inthe country. This year’s options rangefrom three-day, two-night tours to one-dayprograms. Pre-circuits (May 29-31)include Guanacaste Beach and Adventure,in northwestern Costa Rica, or Arenal andMonteverde in the Northern Zone, boththree days and two nights; white-waterrafting on the Pacuare River; a canopytour, two days and one night; and a one-dayrafting trip on the Reventazón river.Post-tours (June 3-5) include three-daytours to Sarapiquí, in north-central CostaRica, Tortuguero, on the northern Caribbeancoast, or the central Pacific coast; and aone-day rural tourism event in Coronado,in the northern highlands of San José.All trips include transportation, mealsand lodging where applicable, and cost$25 for participating EXPOTUR wholesalers.More than 50% of participantshave already registered for a tour, accordingto Solano.This year’s seminars (May 30-31) willfocus on educational tourism and marinetourism.THE fees for EXPOTUR 2005 are$225 for one buyer, $200 each for twobuyers or $175 each for three buyers, notincluding a pre- or post-circuit. The feeincludes special rates with airlines servicingCosta Rica, special host hotel rates,transfers, negotiation meetings and “shoppingsessions,” meals as specified in theprogram, and an official seller directory.The stand fee for seller businesses is$1,250.For information, visit the EXPOTURWeb site at www.expotur.com.