The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) has announced plans to double its budget for advertising abroad by increasing the tourism charge on airfare for foreigners.
Tourism Minister Carlos Benavides, who argues that Costa Rica must take aggressive steps to strengthen its tourism industry (TT, May 19), told the daily La Nación during an event to promote the country in Munich, Germany, that the initiative could provide the ICT with $20 million in additional income each year. The funds would be used to continue the ICT’s strong promotion campaign in the United States and improve its campaign in Europe, he said.
“The investment could seem very high if we look at it in the national context, but it’s ridiculous in comparison to what our competitors do,” he told the daily.
He added that the institute has already begun talking to Legislative Assembly members regarding the possibility of legislation to increase the airfare tax, currently at 5%, and eliminate the 3% hotel tax – with which, according to the minister, hotels comply only 50% of the time.
Benavides was attending the closing ceremony of the “Costa Rica Arena” exhibit, held at a Munich museum to promote Costa Rican art, culture, food and products during the World Cup soccer tournament (TT,May 26).