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May was biggest month for Costa Rica visitors since pandemic began

Costa Rica welcomed more than 90,000 international travelers in May, the largest single-month figure since March 2020.

The country received 90,321 arrivals last month, a slightly higher figure than the previous pandemic highs of March and April 2021 (89,263 and 89,284 people, respectively).

The United States remains the main source market for tourists to Costa Rica. In May, 72,329 U.S. Americans entered Costa Rica — 9,670 more than in April and almost double compared to January, according to a Tourism Board (ICT) press release.

U.S. visitation in May 2021 represents just a 27% drop in arrivals compared to May 2019, “a positive signal that our main market maintains its interest” in Costa Rica, the ICT says.

So far in 2021, Costa Rica has welcomed nearly 270,500 tourists from the United States.

“The signs of recovery in the U.S. market are very relevant and join the recent announcements of the return of all the airlines that connect our country with the US, together with the notable increase in vaccination of its citizens, a situation that strengthens the confidence to travel to destinations such as Costa Rica,” said Gustavo Segura, Tourism Minister.

Nine airlines offer direct connections between Costa Rica and the United States: Delta, United, Alaska, American, JetBlue, Spirit, Sun Country (seasonally), Frontier (as of July 1) and Southwest.

With Southwest’s flights on Sunday, all U.S.-based carriers that served Costa Rica before the pandemic have resumed service.

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 continue to complicate international travel.

The United States, for example, requires a negative Covid-19 test before returning on a flight from abroad.

Earlier this year, Canada urged its airlines to suspend flights to “sun destinations,” including Costa Rica. It continues to impose a mandatory quarantine of 14 days at minimum.

And in Europe, the United Kingdom has added Costa Rica to its “red list” while 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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