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Costa Rica registers small uptick in visitors in April

Costa Rica welcomed nearly 90,000 international arrivals in April, a significant increase compared with the first two months of 2021 but nearly identical to March, according to data from the Tourism Board (ICT).

The country received 89,284 arrivals in April 2021, compared to 62,200 in January, 55,252 in February and 89,263 in March. The figure represents the most monthly arrivals to Costa Rica since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began having a significant impact on international travel.

Through the first four months of 2021, 295,999 people have entered Costa Rica from abroad. This represents a 77% decrease compared to the same period in 2019.

Of the nearly 90,000 arrivals in April, more than two-thirds (70%) came from the United States. Switzerland is in a distant second place (2,495 people), followed by Mexico (2,348).

In addition to the April data, there are other encouraging signs for the post-pandemic travel industry.

Next month, Southwest Airlines will resume flights to Costa Rica. When they do, all U.S. carriers that had routes Costa Rica before the pandemic will have reestablished their service.

And in July, low-cost carrier Frontier will inaugurate routes from Orlando and Miami, representing new flights from an airline that hadn’t served Costa Rica in several years.

Tourism is one of Costa Rica’s principal economic drivers. Before the pandemic, it contributed to 8.2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and created 9% of the nation’s jobs, according to the ICT.

The unemployment rate in Costa Rica is 18.5%, among the region’s highest.

While Costa Rica is welcoming tourists from anywhere in the world, measures related to the pandemic have complicated international travel.

The United States, for example, continues to recommend avoiding travel “until you are fully vaccinated” and requires a negative Covid-19 test before returning on a flight from abroad.

Canada urged its airlines to suspend flights to “sun destinations,” including Costa Rica, and imposes a mandatory quarantine of 14 days at minimum. That has led to a 94% drop in Canadian visitors compared to 2020.

And France, which has direct flights to the San José area through Air France, mandates a 10-day quarantine for travelers from Costa Rica.

Click here to see Costa Rica’s entry requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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