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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Invests in Tourist Safety with New Police Stations

Costa Rica Invests in Tourist Safety with New Police Stations

Costa Rica’s renowned natural beauty and warm hospitality have made it a top global destination. However, its public security issues have become a growing concern that must be addressed to protect both locals and visitors.

That is why the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) will invest ¢650 million to construct police stations in the popular beach towns of Santa Teresa and Cahuita, according to an announcement by Tourism Minister William Rodríguez before the Legislative Assembly.

Rodríguez highlighted the urgent need to tackle rising insecurity adequately for both Ticos and foreign tourists. The increase in murders related to drug trafficking has reached top destinations for foreigners, fueled by criminal gangs fighting over territories. This situation has been highlighted in international media reports.

“We cannot talk about tourist insecurity; this concept would create a separation between the insecurity for tourists and for Costa Rican citizens. What we have here is citizen insecurity,” stressed Rodríguez.

Given the circumstances, members of the Tourism Commission consulted Rodríguez about the comprehensive strategy between the government, ICT and the Ministry of Security to address this phenomenon.

However, Rodríguez emphasized that there cannot be a plan just for tourism but rather for all people living and visiting Costa Rica. “If we make such a distinction, we would be making a serious mistake and sending the wrong message,” he added.

Legislators agree that if the perception of insecurity persists, fewer foreign tourists may be willing to explore the nation’s natural wonders and cultural attractions.

“We know the Public Security authorities and all police forces are making great efforts, but insecurity is reaching tourist sites. Eventually, if decisive action isn’t taken, it could have an effect,” said CANATUR’s Shirley Calvo.

Per the ICT, the tourists’ Perception of Security index is currently 88.7% but has dropped from 94% previously.

Besides the new police stations, Minister Rodríguez said ¢19.3 million went to the Tourist Police in 2022, with ¢25 million budgeted for 2023. “It is truly regrettable what is happening with citizen security. We cannot ignore it. We have seen it worsening and are aware it is a real issue,” he remarked solemnly.

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