Hundreds of international buyers and sellers this week kicked off negotiations at Expotur 2009, Costa Rica´s premier annual tourism fair. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Expotur and despite plummeting tourism numbers, national tour operators (sellers) and foreign tour planners (buyers) showed up in impressive numbers.
More than 300 Costa Rican vendors set up stands at the Hotel Ramada Plaza Herradura conference center in Cariari, west of San José, to sell to around 220 registered buyers.
In response to the global economic downturn this year, the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Professionals (ACOPROT) introduced some strategic perks to attract participants.
ACOPROT waived the normal $1,300 registration see for several of the vendors who have been loyal to the fair since it began.
“We thought that during the crisis, some of businesses could use some extra incentives to come,” said Patricia Duar, executive director for ACOPROT.
The association provided free tickets to some international buyers and offered free room and board to businesses that presented at the fair.
Additionally, the event will be open to the public for the first time in more than 10 years – May 16 from noon to 5 p.m. and May 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
No admission fee will be charged, but Expotur encourages visitors to make donations.