You well alluded to the fact that many Costa Rica “tourists” counted in stats are not traditional vacationers but “perpetual tourists,” even “serial tourists” who make Costa Rica their mental/emotional, if not physical, second home. Probably more than any other country could this be true.
Food, hotel rental car rentals may not increase due to these type of “tourists,” as they have found alternative, low cost, “local” ways to get around, stay, eat, play, etc.
Maybe the immigration form could ask if the person has been to Costa Rica more than five times in the last five years — to put their stats in perspective.
Mary Jane Piazza