Tourism: Crisis Worsened in 2020

The amount of visitors arrivals to Central America and the Dominican Republic shows a downward trend since 2016, which was consolidated in 2019 and worsened in 2020, a phenomenon that is explained by the events recorded in the extra-regional market.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Between 2015 and 2019, the countries of the SICA region, the average growth rate of visitor arrivals was 4.9%, where only in 2019 there was a negative rate of -0.2%, highlights a document of the Secretariat for Central American Tourism Integration (SITCA) published in January 2021.

The member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) are Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

See "Tourism and Travel: Consumer Interests and Preferences"

The SICA region received a total of 24 million visitors in 2019, which was 36 thousand visitors less than the previous year. However, the composition of visitors was maintained with respect to 2018, where 72% of visitors were tourists and 28% were excursionists. Meanwhile, tourist arrivals fell -0.2% in 2019, while excursionist arrivals grew by a modest 0.1%, the report notes.

The document reviews that "... in 2019, the average number of nights of stay was 9 nights, one night more than in 2018. As in 2018, Costa Rica and Nicaragua continue to be the countries where tourists spend the most nights, with 13 and 10 nights respectively. In third position are Dominican Republic and El Salvador with 9 nights, followed by Panama with 8 nights, Guatemala with 7 nights, and Belize with 6 nights. It should be noted that the number of nights depends mainly on the characteristics of each country's offer in terms of: product diversification, competitive pricing, characteristics of their main markets, multilevel organization, local promotion and dissemination, among others."

The behavior of the tourism sector of the SICA region during 2019, came to consolidate some trends that had been manifested in previous years, and that have little to do with the tourism offer of the countries of the region, and more related to the events of the extra-regional market. The number of total visitors showed a downward trend since 2016, which was strengthened in 2019, and will become more acute in 2020. And in the same line, the income derived from tourism activities, also presented a decreasing growth since 2016, until contracting without historical present because of CoVid-19 in 2020, the report specifies.

See full document(in Spanish).



More on this topic

Costa Rica: Tourist Arrivals Fall 68% in 2020

January 2021

Due to the outbreak of covid-19 worldwide and restrictions on passenger transportation, only 1.01 million visitors arrived in the country during 2020, 68% less than what was reported in 2019, when 3.14 million tourists arrived.

Although the fall in tourist arrivals was generally resounding, during the last months of 2020 a more favorable behavior was reported.

More American Tourists Arriving in Costa Rica

December 2020

Between October and November, the number of visitors from the US quadrupled, from 6,000 to 24,000, a rise reported in the context of the economic reopening and the reactivation of commercial flights.

The 24,606 Americans who arrived in the country during November, represent a little more than a quarter of the visits from the US registered in the same month of 2019, informed the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

Marinas Get Ready to Receive Tourists

August 2020

As of September 1st, Costa Rica's tourist marinas will be authorized to receive foreign visitors, who must comply with all the requirements established by local authorities.

As a result of the covid-19 outbreak and the closing of the borders decreed by the government, the arrival of foreign tourists to Costa Rican marinas was restricted for more than five months.

Tourism with No Season and Slow Reactivation

June 2020

As a result of the covid19 outbreak, Costa Rica closed its borders to tourism and during April and May practically no visitors entered the country, a situation that will persist in the coming months due to the slow reactivation of the sector.

In order to mitigate the advance of the virus, by means of a government decree the authorities ordered that as of March 18 only Costa Ricans and residents could enter the country.

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