Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solís said that his country’s largest industry – tourism – is key to generating peace around the world, on the eve of the country’s largest tourism trade show.
“In many ways you are all peacemakers and peacekeepers,” Solís said in English to an audience of more than 200 tourism professionals and foreigners.
The Costa Rican president, who took office on May 8, elaborated that tour operators and others in the industry bridge gaps between countries, cultures and faiths, creating a “cradle of peace” in the army-less nation.
His remarks capped Expotur’s Wednesday inauguration ceremony held in San José’s main tourist attraction, the historic National Theater. On Thursday and Friday, Expotur will host its 3oth tourism trade show at the Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center. Expotur allows tourism businesses such as hotels, travel agencies, restaurants and wildlife tours to show off their latest offerings. These businesses also will have the opportunity to directly sell products and services to invited wholesale customers.
Iniciamos el Acto Inaugural de la Expotur 2014 en el Teatro Nacional. pic.twitter.com/bROzDao8WW
— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) May 15, 2014
Following a video highlighting adventurous outdoor tourism, new Tourism Minister Wilhelm von Breymann said the country must continue to work responsibly and sustainably in the industry.
“It’s a small country, but it’s large in its natural wealth and people,” von Breymann said.
Von Breymann added that the country would continue to focus on its largest market, the United States, while hoping to expand in Europe. The previous tourism minister waived the visa requirement for Russians in March to attract more visitors from that country.
Expotur organizers also awarded prizes to industry and government officials based on their work in pioneering the industry in Costa Rica.
10 a.m. Doors open
1-2 p.m. Lunch break
2-6 p.m. Exposition continues
9 a.m.-noon, Exposition
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch, integration of customers and businesses
1-5 p.m. Exposition continues
6 p.m. Closing ceremony
At the trade show, businesses include airlines, tourist attractions, car rental agencies, travel agencies, hotels, adventure and wildlife tourism, property rentals, and restaurants.