The Costa Rican Legislative Assembly last week approved in a first debate a law project that will strategically move several holidays in order to boost domestic tourism.
Under the bill, which must be approved in a second debate before it becomes law, the following national days off would be shifted to Mondays in order to create more long weekends:
- In 2020, July 25 (Guanacaste Day), August 2 (Virgin of Los Angeles Day) and August 15 (Mother’s Day) will include a day off on the respective following Monday. September 15 (Independence Day) and December 1 (Army Abolition Day) will include a day off on the respective preceding Monday.
- In 2021, April 11 (Juan Santamaría Day), May 1 (Labor Day), July 25 (Guanacaste Day) and August 15 (Mother’s Day) will include a day off on the respective following Monday. September 15 (Independence Day) and December 1 (Army Abolition Day) will include a day off on the respective preceding Monday.
Any official commemorations will still be celebrated on the official holiday.
“[This is] all with the purpose of promoting internal visits and economic recovery in all regions of the country, particularly in the tourism sector,” the law project text explains.
In a press release, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) thanked the Legislative Assembly for their work on the proposal and expressed their interest in its rapid approval.
“The possibility of extending some weekends by one more day is a motivation for Costa Ricans to extend their stay in tourist destinations throughout the country, contributing to the desired economic reactivation of the sector — which as the Tourism Minister, María Amalia Revelo, has pointed out, will be slow and will take several months,” Alberto López, General Manager of ICT, said in the statement.
Part of ICT’s economic reactivation plans include local and international promotion. The government agency will first push its domestic tourism campaign, “Vamos a Turistear,” with a $2 million investment.
Later, Costa Rica will re-emphasize its international “Only the Essentials” branding in the United States and Canada.
Tourism comprises an estimated 8.2% of Costa Rica’s GDP. The sector directly employed 219,000 people in 2019.
In response to the coronavirus, Costa Rica hasn’t welcomed international visitors since mid-March.