The Chinchilla administration expects to put into service a new national convention center at the beginning of 2014, according to Vice President Alfio Piva. He was speaking Thursday to the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles.
Piva said that the government expects to seek bids next year for the job. He did not say how the project would be funded.
The convention center is part of the central government’s plan to increase tourism 5 percent over the number that arrived in 2010.
Piva outlined a three-part plan that focused on growth, quality and sustainability.
He said there were more than 2 million tourists in 2010,
which was more than a 9 percent increase over the year before. He said that in the first three months of the year, the country received 7.8 percent more tourists than the same period a year earlier.
The government also seeks to increase to 500 the number of firms that are certified sustainable by 2016 and that it also seeks 10 percent more hotel rooms certified as suitable for tourists by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. That would mean 60 percent of all hotel rooms in the country.
“The numbers show that we are going forward strengthened by the petroleum and gold that is tourism,” said Piva, in a reference to the administration’s opposition to open pit gold mining and oil exploration. He said that President Laura Chinchilla has a clear idea of the direction of the country.
He said the growth in tourism was the result of work of the government after the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009.