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Tourism associations at odds over industry statistics

The Association for the Protection of Tourism, or PROTUR, this week criticized a recent tourism survey by the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) that said nine out of 10 tourism business owners claim the industry is doing “normal” or “very well.” 

The CANATUR survey was released in November and measures profitability, employment and demand for tourism services. But PROTUR President Boris Marchegiani, an outspoken critic of official tourism figures in Costa Rica, said, “We have checked with immigration statistics, and the occupancy rate at hotels continues to be low, and that’s affecting the hotel sector, especially when numbers are presented that are incorrect.” 

Earlier this year, Marchegiani said tourism statistics provided by the Costa Rican Tourism Board, or ICT, regarding the number of tourists who visit the country each year are exaggerated. He added that tourism companies and businesses are losing competitiveness. 

CANATUR President Juan Carlos Ramos countered that although the industry has seen better days, and demand has declined when compared to other years, CANATUR has compensated by promoting national tourism to Costa Ricans. Ramos said that the group’s recent survey is accurate and includes 120 companies that operate hotels, tours, travel agencies, rental car agencies and restaurants. 

In another recent development, the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH) split with CANATUR, citing the latter chamber’s failure to implement reform suggested by the hotels chamber. The CCH also criticized CANATUR’s recent survey. According to CCH President Rubén Pacheco, CANATUR no longer represents the needs of the entire tourism sector. He cited the decision by other groups, including the national Airlines Association and the Costa Rican Rental Car Association, to also leave CANATUR.

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