Costa Rica will announce this week a firm date for the return of international tourism, President Carlos Alvarado said Wednesday.
“As part of the announcements we’ll make this week to define that [economic] route, we will present the firm date for which commercial and tourist flights can resume,” President Alvarado said.
Referencing a strategy of “the hammer and the dance,” President Alvarado said the country will continue its economic reopening in the areas where it is appropriate.
“At the same time as we protect the health of Costa Ricans, as a government we will continue to advance in a studied and calibrated economic reopening,” President Alvarado said.
Health Minister Daniel Salas has suggested that the return of international tourism will be “gradual and controlled.”
“It’s not that we’re going to open borders and welcome the number of flights that we had arriving before the pandemic,” Salas said earlier this week. “We will open borders in its moment, allowing for people to come from countries where there isn’t a magnified transmission.”
Costa Rica will also advance to its “Phase 3” of reopening in the near future, President Alvarado said. That stage would extend beach hours, allow stores open on the weekend and permit some religious gatherings.
More details will be announced this week, according to President Alvarado.
Tourism comprises an estimated 8.2% of Costa Rica’s GDP.
In 2019, Costa Rica welcomed 3.1 million foreign visitors, 4.1% more than in 2018. Those tourists remain in the country for an average of 12.6 days and spend an average of $1,400, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Board.
The United States is the country from which the most tourists visit Costa Rica — almost 1.3 million people last year. However, the U.S. has reported more coronavirus cases than any other nation.