In the first half of 2023, Costa Rica welcomed 977,783 tourists from North America, marking a 21% increase compared to the same period in 2022. During this timeframe, the country surpassed previous records, recording 1.3 million tourist arrivals by air. Consequently, authorities anticipate a year-end total surpassing 2019’s numbers by 5%.
By the end of 2023, it is projected that the Central American nation will have hosted between 2.3 and 2.5 million tourists arriving by air from various parts of the world, as per data from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).
This growth is further accentuated by the rise in foreign exchange earnings, attributable both to increased average spending and longer stays by tourists.
According to the ICT, in 2022, the average spend per tourist was $1,590, and the average stay lasted 13.5 nights. These figures outpaced popular destinations such as Spain, Mexico, the Bahamas, Peru, Panama, and others, based on data from the World Tourism Organization.
“Our recovery is robust, with the pandemic’s effects diminishing across the tourism sector’s value chain. This is a testament to the collaborative efforts of both the public and private sectors. However, we recognize that not all regions or businesses have experienced equal recovery. We continue to commit our resources to support them,” stated William Rodriguez, the Minister of Tourism.
Interestingly, the rebound of Costa Rica’s tourism sector has been more pronounced than in many other global regions. The World Tourism Organization reported that by the first half of 2023, approximately 80% of pre-pandemic levels had been achieved globally, primarily due to strong performances in Europe and the Middle East.
Costa Rica remains a premier destination, especially for visitors from North America and Europe. In the first six months of the year, the country saw 977,783 and 225,617 air arrivals from these regions, respectively.
Of the North American visitors, tourist numbers grew by 21% compared to 2022. A breakdown reveals that 792,944 hailed from the United States, 148,973 from Canada, and 35,866 from Mexico.
European tourist arrivals rose by 9.3%. Leading countries included France with 40,016 visitors (a 13.1% increase), the United Kingdom with 37,006 (a 2.2% growth), Germany with 39,369 (up by 19.7%), Spain with 21,293 (a 1.8% increment), and the Netherlands with 14,280 (a growth of 20.1%).
Costa Rica’s growing numbers confirm its appeal to international tourists. The country has managed to position itself as a top travel destination and stand out for its environmental and conservation policies.