Despite a recent increase in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Costa Rica still plans to reopen its airports for international travel in August, the Health Ministry said Wednesday.
Authorities will announce further details in the coming days, according to Health Minister Daniel Salas, who has previously explained that the process will be gradual and controlled.
“With respect to the reopening, we maintain the expected date,” Salas said Wednesday. “We will be providing details regarding the protocols that will be used soon, in upcoming days.”
The current border restrictions ban arriving tourists until 11:59 p.m. on August 1. They also prevent residents who left the country after March 25 from re-entering Costa Rica.
Salas has said that Costa Rica will only allow tourists from countries with controlled spread of the coronavirus; authorities have not indicated what countries will qualify or how that will be determined.
Costa Rica’s major international airports — Juan Santamaría in Alajuela and Daniel Oduber Quirós in Liberia, Guanacaste — have established health measures to help minimize coronavirus spread. Arriving travelers will almost certainly be required to present an epidemiological form to authorities.
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 remained in the country for an average of 12.6 days and spent an average of $1,400, according to the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT).
In 2019, more than 1.3 million tourists came to Costa Rica from the United States, more than any other single country by far. Over the same period, nearly 235,000 people visited Costa Rica from Canada, while more than 500,000 people arrived from Europe.