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Costa Rica to allow visa-free tourism from China

Costa Rica will make it easier for tourists from China to visit, the Tourism Board announced Wednesday.

Starting in March, tourists from Beijing and Shanghai will be allowed to enter the country without the need for a prior visa. Under the current requirements, Chinese nationals must apply for an entry permit at the Costa Rican consulate.

Chinese nationals will have to demonstrate that they have a tourism package booked through an accredited Costa Rican company in order to receive the visa exemption.

The relaxed requirements are meant to help Costa Rica tap into a growing tourism market. By 2027, the number of Chinese citizens with passports is expected to reach 300 million people, according to the Tourism Board.

“In order to explore this market, the Tourism Board, the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed on the visa exception for the entry of tourists from Beijing and Shanghai,” the Tourism Board said in a statement.

The news was announced as part of a series of measures to help stimulate tourism. Among the others are infrastructure improvements to national parks, financial credits to rural entrepreneurs, and suspended income-tax payments to companies that registered losses in 2020.

Costa Rica already allows visa-free entry to citizens of many countries, including the United States, Canada, and most European nations.

In 2019, Costa Rica registered 16,847 arrivals of Chinese citizens through all ports of entry to the country. There are currently no direct flights from China to Costa Rica, but there are one-stop routes through Europe.

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