The number of visitors to Costa Rica grew 6.42% during the first half of this year compared to last year, according to statistics released this week by the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR).
An estimated 50,258 more tourists arrived to Juan Santamaría International Airport, just northwest of San José, and Daniel Oduber International Airport, in the northwestern capital of Liberia, this year.
These statistics are “not official, but they represent an idea of the behavior and tendencies of this sector,” according to a statement from the chamber Tuesday.
From January to June of this year, 832,604 foreign tourists entered the country, an increase over the 782,346 tourists who came to Costa Rica during the first half of 2006.
About 595,400 tourists entered through Juan Santamaría, 3.14% more than last year, while the remaining 237,200 entered through Daniel Oduber, a 15.66% increase over 2006.
March was the most popular month for tourists to come here with 163,433 entering the country; while during January 149,878 tourists came here.
“These statistics without a doubt fill us with optimism since they show a significant growth,” said CANATUR president Gonzalo Vargas, adding that Costa Rica has already surpassed its goals stated in the National Development Plan, which called for the industry to grow 5% during 2007, he said.
He attributed the tourism growth to efforts by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) to bring new flights to Costa Rica.