Costa Rica: Inaccurate Tourism Figures

Labeling as "tourists" those who should actually be categorized as "International Arrivals" damages projections made by entrepreneurs in this sector.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) announced earlier this year that 2.6 million tourists visited the country in 2015, 5.5% more than in the previous year.

But the weekly newspaper El Financiero carried out some analysis which went beyond the official figures. Their report stated that "... the result showed at least four major limitations on the numbers that are not explained in press releases: from the partial inclusion of people with temporary work permits, people who stay longer than three months in the country, travelers who enter for work reasons without really behaving systematically as tourists (such as freight carriers) and the same tourists who comes into the country again and again, with each entry counting as a new one in the figures that the ICT offers the press".

"... Of the 2.6 million 'International Arrivals' to Costa Rica reported by the ICT, 30% corresponded to 'revisitors', according to information given to El Financiero by Roxana Arguedas, head of information management at the ICT. The percentage change between the figures with and without revisitors is 50%, going from 1.73 million, approximately, without revisitors, to the 2.6 million disclosed in the press conference. "

The analysis shows that an international arrival can not be called a "tourist" or "visitor" and the Directorate General of Immigration (DGME) does not take this into account. Therefore it is critical to realise that entrepreneurs are making projections using numbers, which according to the newspaper article, are "exaggerated" by the tourist authority.

More on this topic

More American Tourists in Costa Rica

April 2018

In the first quarter of the year the number of tourists who flew the US grew 6% compared to the same period in 2017.

After a period of uncertainty, the flow of American tourists has once again registered an increase in the first three months of the year. Specifically, 21,337 more Americans came into the country than between January and March of 2017.

Costa Rica: Tourism Figures for June 2015

September 2015

In the first half of the year 1.4 million tourists visted the country, only 1.7% more than in the same period in 2014.

From a statement issued by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT):

In the first six months of the year, our country received 1,415,046 international arrivals; that is, more than 23,429 tourists entered through all ports, according to data provided by the Directorate General of Immigration (DGME) and analyzed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

Costa Rica 2014: Record Tourism

January 2015

Almost 70% of international arrivals by air corresponded to North American visitors, followed by Europe with 16.5% and South America with 6.9%.

From a statement issued by the Government of Costa Rica:

2014 was a momentous year for the tourism industry, in which all historical records of the country in tourism were exceeded .

Costa Rica Tourism Grows by 4.6% and Seeks Expansion

February 2012

70% of the 2.2 million tourists who visited the country in 2011 arrived by air, so tourism officials want to increase the number of air connections available.

The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism is looking to multiply the number of flights to Costa Rica with connections to destinations in South America, the USA and Europe, said the minister, Allan Flores.

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