Costa Rica received 3.1 million foreign visitors last year, 4.1% more than in 2018, and tourism remained one of the country’s economic pillars, the government said Wednesday.
The increase in tourism exceeded the average of 4% of global growth and 2% in the Americas, said the Costa Rican Tourism Minister, María Amalia Revelo, based on data from the World Tourism Organization.
“These figures generated by tourism in the country are very positive and hopeful,” said President Carlos Alvarado when he released the data.
He added that “Costa Rica is a world leader in the field of tourism, which is a fundamental pillar for equitable development, economic activation and job creation.”
Official data indicates that 219,165 people were employed in the Costa Rican tourism sector in 2018.
The Central American country receives visitors mainly from the United States, Canada and Europe attracted by beaches, volcanoes and national parks rich in wildlife.
According to the Minister of Tourism, foreign visitors stay in Costa Rica for an average of 12.6 days and spend an average of $1,400.
Revelo stressed that the growth took place despite some turbulence in the international economic scenario, such as Brexit and the bankruptcy of British tour operator Thomas Cook.
The United States is the country from which the most tourists arrive in Costa Rica — almost 1.3 million people last year.
Meanwhile, European visitors in 2019 surpassed 500,000 people for the first time, according to data presented by Revelo.