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News briefs: IMF highlights impact of pandemic on Costa Rica tourism

September 2, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has transformed life in Costa Rica, which has enacted measures to protect the capacity of its health system.

Here’s what you should know today.

IMF details impact on tourism

The International Monetary Fund’s latest “External Sector Report” details the impact the pandemic has had on the international tourism sector.

“During the first four months of 2020, international tourism arrivals were about 50 percent lower than over the same period in 2019, with deeper declines for related indicators, such as international flight arrivals and hotel reservations,” the report reads.

The IMF noted that tourism recovery is “highly uncertain;” even a gradual lifting of travel restrictions starting in September “implies tourism receipts 73 percent below their 2019 levels.”

The report indicates that Costa Rica is among the large net tourism exporters and has been significantly affected as a result. The impacts of the coronavirus crisis on tourism proceeds are expected to cause at least a 4% drop in Costa Rica’s GDP, per the IMF.

While Costa Rica has begun a gradual reopening for international visitors, the International Air Transport Association has said global air traffic won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

Costa Rica has asked for $1.75 billion in financial assistance from the IMF due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Read the full IMF report here

Insurance requirements for homeowners

Foreigners entering Costa Rica on a tourist visa are required to purchase travel insurance covering COVID-19 medical expenses and related lodging expenses in the event of a quarantine.

There is no exception established by law to the “lodging expenses” requirement for homeowners entering Costa Rica on tourist visas.

However, the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) has now suggested that homeowners may be exempted from the “lodging expenses” portion of the insurance requirements.

According to Outlier Legal, which spoke to the ICT:

This statement carries some weight, because ICT is the entity in charge of validating insurance policies for visitors. However, to emphasize Outlier Legal’s comments, there is no legal basis for homeowners to be exempted from the housing requirement.

Tourists, including homeowners, still need a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-19 medical expenses.

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