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Alajuela Aims to Attract More Investment, Tourism

January 13, 2006

NOT content to sit back and wait for opportunity to knock, municipal leaders in Alajuela, northwest of San José, have launched a new strategy designed to encourage tourists and potential investors to choose Alajuela over other Costa Rican cities as their destination for travel or business.

 

According to the daily La Nación, the local government has already conducted a study of Alajuela’s competitive benefits as a tourism or business destination; now, they are presenting those results, as well as a video about Alajuela, during meetings with business executives.

 

The municipality also has plans to speed up the process of obtaining construction and operation permits for would be investors, with a mid-year “exclusive window” of opportunity; during this period, investors will be able to present all the necessary documents to municipal officials, who will take care of the necessary paperwork with the Public Health Ministry, Finance Ministry, National Insurance Institute (INS) and Social Security System (Caja), or other institutions as necessary.

 

Fabio Molina, mayor of Alajuela, told the daily the entire process would take no more than eight days.

 

Another prime selling point for business leaders: Alajuela’s location. It’s home to Juan Santamaría International Airport, close to San José and the Inter-American Highway, and only 90 km from the Pacific port of Caldera.

 

The city has fewer traffic problems than the capital, comparatively good road conditions, and plenty of available property, the daily reported.

 

Alajuela is home to seven free zones, or zonas francas, where foreign businesses can operate tax-free.

 

A Web site to inform foreigners about the area is also in the works, as are plans for promoting one-day Alajuela tours, including visits to La Paz Waterfall and Poás Volcano.

 

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