President Carlos Alvarado asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday to review the North American country’s travel advisory warning visitors to “exercise increased caution” due to crime in Costa Rica.
The Jan. 7 alert downgraded Costa Rica from a Level 1 — the highest level, which indicates travelers should “exercise normal precautions” — to the new Level 2 categorization. The designation, apparently based on the threat of petty and violent crime, could impact Costa Rica’s tourism industry, which relies heavily on U.S. visitors.
“The issue of the ranking, the classification for us is not so much a direct economic impact. It’s got to do with reputation, and we’ve talked about that because our country has made great effort reducing its crime rates,” President Alvarado said.
In response, Pompeo said the State Department is “going to take a look at this … as quickly as we can.”
“We want to make sure we get it right,” Pompeo said. “We had a million and a half-plus Americans come travel to Costa Rica last year. I am confident that we will have a million and a half-plus Americans come travel again. I hope there’ll be more.”
President Alvarado also asked Pompeo to expedite Costa Rica’s recertification as a Category 1 airpspace for aviation. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Costa Rica to Category 2 in May 2019, saying the country “does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization safety standards.”
“We’ve had four visits with the U.S. embassy and the Costa Rican authorities,” President Alvarado said. “We’ve corrected the issues that were mentioned, and we’re ready to receive the audit to recover our ranking. We also requested that this audit takes place as soon as possible so that we can recover our position in the area of aviation.”