Costa Rica has joined Peru, Mexico and Chile as one of the few countries in the world promoted by the Chinese government as a tourist destination.
The addition of Costa Rica to China’s short list of “recommended destinations” comes just four months after Costa Rica became the only Central American country to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China (TT, June 8).
Tourism Minister Carlos Benavides said the recognition “now allows us to establish mechanisms to allow groups of Chinese to enter easily into our territory.”
However, Immigration spokeswoman, Heidi Bonilla, said there are no plans to loosen visa requirements for Chinese citizens aside from changes made in September that allow travelers from category-four countries – China included – with U.S. visas to enter Costa Rica without hassle.
More than 200 million Chinese have the economic means to travel abroad, according to the World Tourism Organization. In 2005, 17.2 million Chinese went abroad as tourists, and the Organization expects that number to reach 20 million this year.