The tico’s visitation numbers are now virtually on par with their pre-pandemic showings.
What in many countries could be seen as merely another number in a boring government quarterly notice, in Costa Rica becomes a very important barometer of the nation’s wellbeing. Since the Costa Rican central industry is services and tourism, the visitation numbers from each quarter are essential to not only identify current trends, but also project the rest of the year from an economic perspective.
The most recent report from Costa Rica’s Tourism Institute (ICT, for its Spanish acronym) shows that the country received 968,000 tourists in the first 4 months of 2023. This number nearly equals the 974,000 of 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.
As surprise to none, the United States continues to be the main market demographic for the ticos, with a whopping 536,000 visitors, actually surpassing data from 2019. After the US, the next main influx of tourists comes from France, surprisingly Europe’s top market, and other Old World nations like the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada for North America. Additionally, Peru and Chili are the main Latin American countries sending tourists to Costa Rica.
All of the aforementioned countries have increased their visitation numbers from 2019, with only other Latin American countries like Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico representing a decrease. The increase in direct flight offerings both to the Juan Santamaria Airport and the Guanacaste Airport in Liberia have been an important factor linked to the country’s current upwards trend. The growth of Guanacaste’s Airport in particular has diversified routes and provided tourists with an even more appealing and direct way of reaching the most popular tico destinations in the Gold Coast. This quadrimester, that meant 315,000 international arrivals, nearly a 16% increase from 2019.
As Costa Rica’s tourism infrastructure continues to develop, and more and more world-class investments come to the country, the comforts and conveniences offered to international visitors will only grow, meaning there still room to grow in the future from what’s an already strong showing, even by the high standards of the country’s high season during the summer months.