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Costa Rica to support wellness tourism with initiative

Hot springs, yoga retreats and massage therapy are some of the activities Costa Rica hopes to support through a new initiative aimed at promoting wellness tourism.

The Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), a nonprofit based in San José, has partnered with the Tourism Board (ICT) to issue grants of up to $10,000 to wellness tourism projects in northern Costa Rica.

Small and medium-sized businesses in areas such as Sarapiquí, San Carlos, Los Chiles, Upala, Río Cuarto and the district of Peñas Blancas in San Ramón will receive cash to “contribute to the community’s tourism revival and boost the wellness tourism industry,” per an ICT press release.

“These resources can help companies dedicated to tourism in the north of the country to reactivate their economies, generate productive chains and be able to sustain themselves in the tourist offer,” said Flora Montealegre, executive director of CRUSA.

Wellness tourism, travel focused on personal wellbeing, is a fast-growing industry, according to the Global Wellness Institute. While not strictly defined, it encapsulates “proactive things we do to maintain a healthy lifestyle, reduce stress, prevent disease, and enhance our wellbeing.”

For Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura, wellness is especially relevant as people explore international travel in context of the pandemic.

“Costa Rica has all the necessary conditions to consolidate itself as a paradise that allows the visitor to detoxify from stress and daily hustle and bustle, in an involvement with the environment that allows unique and unrepeatable tourist wellness activities,” Segura said. 

How to apply for the funds

Small and medium-sized businesses can explore the contest details in full at:

The initiative is divided into three phases:

  1. Initiation: During the first week of June, online talks led by specialists will introduce wellness tourism to businesses owners.
  2. Solutions Contest: From the second to the fourth week of June, CRUSA will receive proposals from interested companies. The projects will go through three levels of review, and an external evaluating jury will select winning ideas during the last week of July.
  3. Financial support and training: The winning companies will receive up to $10,000 each, in addition to training and support during the execution of the proposal.

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