Tourism: Falling Revenues and Forecasts

After foreign exchange revenues from tourism in Costa Rica fell from $4 billion to $1.343 billion between 2019 and 2020 due to the closure of borders and airports, it is projected that the sector will remain in the red during 2021.

Monday, May 10, 2021

March 2020, when most countries began to register Covid-19 cases, was the month in which revenues began to fall. Statistics from the Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) show that in this context of pandemic, between April and October of last year, the Costa Rican tourism industry practically did not earn any foreign currency.

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In November 2020, signs of recovery began to be perceived, when foreign exchange income from tourism amounted to $33 million. Official data highlights that in December last year the amount rose to $65 million.

BCCR forecasts indicate that for this year a negative variation of 4.2% will be reported and by 2023 the income of tourism-related industries could grow by 13%.

The economist William Porras, told Nacion.com that "... the entry of dollars linked to the tourism sector, before 2020, reported an average annual increase of 24%, because the arrival of foreigners to the country grew, as well as spending during their stay in the country. But with the pandemic, the numbers have turned around'."

Economist Jose Luis Arce, also an economist, explained that for this year the challenge will be much greater because "... the income of dollars from tourism will take time to arrive. Part of the internal demand has recovered and with it imports and the prices of raw materials put upward pressure."

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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.

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