British government warns that tourists may go missing here

The British government has updated its travel advice about Costa Rica to note that eight foreign nationals, including one British citizen, have gone missing in the last two years with some related to criminal activity.

The update this month followed an appeal by the family of missing British journalist Michael Dixon, the family said.

The addition of a single line in a lengthy bulletin about Costa Rica followed an exchange of letters between the Dixon family and Foreign Secretary William Hague. The family said that Minister of State Jeremy Browne replied May 12 that “Violent crime against tourists is increasing. The recent increase in the number of foreign nationals missing in Costa Rica is also worrying.”

“There is a common misperception that Costa Rica is a safe place to go on holiday,” said David Dixon, brother of the missing man. “While it is a beautiful country, travelers need to be aware of the increasing number of tourist disappearances and exercise a much greater degree of caution.”

Michael Dixon, a journalist, vanished after leaving his hotel
in Tamarindo Oct. 18, 2009. His family has been persistent in keeping the case before the public eye even though extensive effort has not turned up any clues.

David Dixon has visited Costa Rica several times, and the family has been featured in a BBC documentary. This week the Dixon family contacted Prime Minister David Cameron by letter and asked him to give clearance to British investigators to travel to Costa Rica to follow up on leads. Costa Rican police have declined to issue a formal invitation to British investigators, a requirement in international diplomacy. Browne told the family that Costa Rican police said they would participate in a teleconference with British counterparts, but that offer was turned down, said the family.

The latest foreign tourists to vanish is a French couple who were traveling on the central Pacific coast March 31. They are Gerard and Claude Dubois. Their rented car was found near the Río Naranjo south of Quepos. The couple had said they were on the way to Dominical. Passports were found a few days later in a trash container in Jacó. The Dominical-based CAP on Crimehas offered a reward.

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