The Cámera Nacional de Turismo wants more visitors from China and Russia.
The chamber is asking the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo to push to eliminate the need for visitors from those countries to have pre-approved visas. The chamber said that tourists from these countries are big spenders. Citing World Tourism Organization figures, the chamber said that China ranks third among nations for tourist expenditures overseas and Russia ranks ninth.
Technically all tourists who come to Costa Rica have a visa of some form, but what the chamber wants is to eliminate the process in the home country for tourists to come here. U.S. citizens and many visitors from Europe just fill out a form as their plane lands.
The chamber said it did not think that government officials have taken seriously their promise to eliminate bureaucracy and offer the tools that would attract tourists from China and Russia.
“The national tourism industry needs better proactivity from ICT to eliminate the need for visas for these countries
that are strong tourism market providers,” said the chamber president, Juan Carlos Ramos, referring to the tourism institute by its acronym.
Tourism officials identified Brazil, China and Russia as emerging markets, but steps have been taken to push for tourism from Brazil, said the chamber. The World Tourism Organization says that China and Russia are among the 10 biggest providers of international tourists based on total overseas spending, the chamber said.
The rules for visas come from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería. Russian is in the so-called third group of countries, and China is in the fourth group. Chinese nationals have to submit an application to the Costa Rican consulate in their home country but the visa has to be approved by officials in San José.
Other group four countries are Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Burma, Iraq, Haiti, Ethiopia, Iran Palestine, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Syria, and Somalia.
Russians have to apply for a visa while in Russia and can stay in Costa Rica for just 30 days, according to the immigration agency. Nicaragua also is a group three country.