Costa Rica presented on Wednesday a roadmap to progressively reactivate tourism with an advertising campaign and price reductions so that a key sector of its economy can thrive once the coronavirus pandemic passes.
The state-run Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) said in a statement that it intends to attract local visitors in a first phase to revive the sector before reopening the borders to the entry of foreign tourists.
“In this way, the recovery of the tourism sector will begin, by appealing to the Costa Rican population residing in the country to be a participant in the mission of restarting the main engine of our economy: tourism,” the ICT said.
The agency “will establish strategic alliances with cooperatives, solidarity associations and the financial sector to promote offers and payment facilities” to encourage tourism, the entity said in a statement.
Tourism is one of the engines of the economy of Costa Rica, a country of 51,000 km2 and 5 million inhabitants that annually receives more than 3 million international visitors, attracted by its beaches, volcanoes and national parks. The sector directly employed 219,000 people in 2019.
However, in response to the coronavirus, Costa Rica closed its borders to the entry of visitors. Beaches and national parks also remain closed, which combined to paralyze both local and international tourist activity.
“The ICT will directly contribute with raffles and prizes aimed at reducing prices so that, together with the sector’s offers for national tourists, vacationing will be much more attractive for Costa Ricans,” explained María Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism and Executive President of the ICT.
The minister met Tuesday with leaders from the sector to present the reactivation proposal.
A priority is to “create the necessary conditions for the return of airlines to the country,” according to the ICT, and the entity also plans economic support for businesses and laborers.
“For this roadmap to be successful, it needs coordination with other government actors under the premise that supporting the tourism sector is supporting the country,” Amalia Revelo said.
Costa Rica intends to continue its “Only the Essentials” campaign, which brands the country internationally as “an opportunity to connect with the essence of life: nature, well-being, culture and adventure.”
Costa Rica has controlled the spread of the coronavirus over the last month, averaging fewer than 10 new known cases per day. That, combined with a low level of hospitalization and lethality, has allowed a small reduction in the restrictions adopted to contain the pandemic.
The country has announced 755 cumulative cases of the coronavirus, with six deaths and 433 recoveries, according to the Health Ministry.