Tourism Recovered In 2011
• It surpassed the 2 million tourists of the last season.
• Tourist arrivals at Liberia Airport grew by 31.4% in December.
Last year was a year of growth for the tourism industry. The country recorded the arrival of more than 2 million international tourists in 2011; this implies an increase of 4.6%, about 97 thousand tourists more than the previous period.
The data are based on statistics from the Department of Immigration (DGME) released by the Costa Rican Board of Tourism (ICT).
Allan Flores, Minister of Tourism, said the dynamism the tourism industry is showing after the economic crisis is the result of the intensive work of public and private sectors to encourage an influx of visitors to the country and the positioning of Costa Rica as an innovating destination pioneer in sustainable tourism development.
Most visitors came to the country by air, which represents a 70% of total arrivals recorded last year. Approximately, 1,200,000.00 arrived at Juan Santamaria International Airport and almost 270,000.00 at Liberia’s.
Every time, there are more Europeans visiting. In 2011, this market grew by 4.8%. North America closed with an increase of 3.9% and visits from the south of our continent experienced an important development with an 8.2% growth in visits.
The High Season Begins
With the start of the high season, December saw a sharp increase in visitation. Some 217,743 foreign tourists entered the country through all our ports, so presenting a 7.6% growth over the same month in 2010 (15,347 tourists more).
The opening of the new passenger terminal at the Daniel Oduber International Airport in early season increased the visitation figures by 31.4%. In December, 35,121 tourists entered by Liberia.
Visitors from North America continue to prove that they are lovers of our nature and that Costa Rica is one of their preferred destinations. The arrival of the North Americans had an 11.9% growth in total; Canada with a 17.6% and the U.S. with 11.4% (88,074 Americans arrived).
Visitation of South American tourists increased by 7.5%. The growth of tourist visitation from Brazil, with 29.5% in December, is of particular importance as to this subcontinent.
The government has announced a series of measures to encourage the arrival of airlines that may connect destinations in Costa Rica with emerging economies such as those located in South America and Asia. (See note: " Costa Rica is Committed to Reactivating Tourism").