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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Costa Rican hotel owners demand increased security following tourist’s murder

Hotel owners in Costa Rica demanded Thursday that the government take greater responsibility for the safety of tourists following the murder of a Venezuelan-American, a crime that shook the Central American country.

“If the country were acting consciously in its security policy for visitors, it would have clearer migration rules, it would be imprisoning criminals and providing greater protection to sites frequented by tourists,” the Costa Rican Hotel Chamber (CCH) said in a statement.

The CCH added that “these basic premises are not being met.”

The hotel sector was dismayed by the murder of tourist Carla Stefaniak, 36, whose body was found on Monday with knife injuries and a severe blow to the head.

The police detained as a suspect a 32-year-old Nicaraguan who had been working as a security agent at the hotel where Stefaniak stayed, in the mountainous town of San Antonio de Escazú, southwest of San José.

[Editor’s Note: Stefaniak had been residing at the Hostel Villa LeMas, which she had booked through Airbnb.]

The business owners recognized that they too shoulder part of the responsibility in guaranteeing the safety of the tourists who visit the country.

The Minister of Tourism, Maria Amalia Revelo, insisted that hotels should be more cautious with the staff they hire.

“Employers need to be more careful with the people they hire for security functions,” Revelo said. “The law requires verification that the person has a regular immigration status.”

The suspect detained following Stefaniak’s death had entered Costa Rica illegally.

Last August, a Mexican and a Spanish woman were killed in separate incidents while visiting Costa Rica, cases that damaged country’s image as a tourist destination.

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