|Tourism Industry in Costa Rica
This industry has grown dramatically. Some
400,600 foreign tourists spent US$ 164million
in 1988; of these, 123,600 came from the
US and Canada. In 1992 more than half million
foreigners visited Costa Rica, spent an estimated
$200 million and created 15,000 jobs during
the first six months of the year alone. Future
growth is expected : an estimated 1.2 million
visitors are projected to arrive during 1998
and a similar figure for 1999. The industry
now employs half million Costa Ricans (17%
of the population). On a par with bananas,
tourism has become a major economic priority
and a large number of new hotels are under
construction, many of them owned by foreign
investors. Unfortunately, many of the hotels,
are being built with only short-term profit
in mind, and without considering the effect
such development will have on the local ecosystems.
Some believe it is unwise for any local economy
to place too much emphasis on tourism. Instability
in the region, a major earthquake, civil
disturbances, hyperinflation, even the whims
of tourists could depress tourism sending
the economy into a tailspin. Regardless,
Intel Corporation's exports from the country
recently raised the commercial balance to
a higher notch, surpassing any other industry
in Costa Rica.
In its haste to boost the influx
dollars, the government of Rafael
Fournier began promoting large-scale
development on the shores of
northwest. More than 50% of visitors
mentioned that they were visiting
to pursue some interest in nature.
also positions Costa Rica as
destination for the whole family,
as a beach resort contender to
the Caribbean, but with abundant
and radical changes between microclimates
within the driving hour.
Sprawling resort complexes, which
that been scarce and catered
to the Costa
Rica high class, began sprouting
jungle shoreline. Jaco Beach
has been pinpointed
for redevelopment and is currently
city, with all the good and bad
Puerto Limon is expected to prosper
tourism booms. Chief among the
however, is the Gulf Papagayo
several beaches in Guanacaste.
being constructed by a host of
and Mexican developers, will
be the largest
leisure city in Central America.
Grupo Situr alone is planning
to build 6,900
rooms in an initial project phase
more than 2,000 hotel rooms,
50 luxury villas,
400 family villas, and 700 apartments,
with shopping center, golf course,
supporting amenities. In all,
more than 20,000
rooms may be developed.
The development covers 4,492
to several national parks and
and has come under heavy attack
groups for destruction of the
over which the development is
and for the possible environmental
There have been a host of hotel
in areas where the construction
was carried out without proper
Manuel Antonio, next to the Manuel
National Park saw 60 hotels populate
roadsides in 10 years. Some 15
of those have
had to close, as the profit margins
with the increase of competition.
Tourist Resorts are granted government
but legal formalities have to
before these can be granted.
in the tourism industry are tax
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