Tourism giveaway generates chatter on facebook page

The national tourism chamber said it backs the strategy that the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo is using to generate marketing contacts on Facebook. The institute announced a program Thursday to give away about 250 trips for two or more to Costa Rica though February.

The marketing firm 22squared is behind the project that is keyed to a Facebook page. In order to enter the contest, persons in most of the United States and Canada have to click a link on the tourism institute’s Facebook page. It appears that by doing so they are opening up their profile information and the links they have with other people.

The promotion is counting on these links to spread the word.

The tourism chamber, the Cámara National de Turismo, said in a release Friday that it was confident that the marketing program will position Costa Rica in the primary source of tourists for the benefit of the entire industry.

Not everyone feels that way. Contest winners will be housed in hotels that are certified as three- or four-star sustainable operations by the tourism institute. So some objected to this restriction in postings to the institute’sFacebook page. One suggested the use of vouchers.

Some residents of Quebec seemed miffed because they cannot compete. Maria Amalia Revelo Raventos of the tourism institute responded that regulations in Quebec were the reason the province was not included. Alaska and Hawaii also are excluded.

Facebook posters from elsewhere in the world said they wished they could be part of the contest. Now winners must be residents of the continental United States or the other provinces of Canada. Some expats said they would use their courier addresses in Miami to participate in the contest.

The Facebook campaign basically causes users to spread the word to their lists of contacts. The tourism institute Facebook page is attracting many postings from tourism operators in Costa Rica who are using the opportunity to promote their own operations. There also is Costa Rica specific advertising.

And there are many persons posting their memories of Costa Rica and the wish to return or to visit for the first time.

In addition to the Facebook contest, the institute said that trips would be given away in other ways. Additionally, key people will also be chosen who deserve to be awarded for defending different causes related to promoting happiness in others or sharing Costa Rican values, it said.

This aspect will benefit 95 more people, it added.

The trip giveaway contest will cost $2.9 million, including advertising, trip packages, and the advertising spots in the media, the institute said.

The second stage from March 2012 to February 2013, will focus on positioning Costa Rica, and the investment will total $3.5 million for a total investment of $6.4 million, the institute said Thursday.

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