The tourism chamber is putting on a happy face with the news that non-resident arrivals in 2011 were 4.6 percent higher than in 2010. The chamber, the Cámara Nacional de Turismo, was reacting to the release of final 2011 figures by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.
The tourism institute reported that Costa Rica received 2,195,960 non-resident visitors in 2011 compared to 2,099,829 in 2010. The difference is slightly more than 96,000.
The chamber report also uses the term non-resident tourists to describe the arrivals. The increase of those arriving by air was 3.2 the chamber said.
The tourism institute had hoped for a 5 percent increase in visitors in 2011.
The chamber once again is urging the country to seek tourists in non-traditional countries, such as Russia, Brazil, China and India. It also urged more investment in infrastructure, such as road repairs.
The chamber noted that improvements at Juan Santamaria airport and a new terminal at Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia were advances in tourism. It urged more efforts to get more air flights to the country. It also urged more emphasis on security.
The tourism industry has negotiated a graduated value-added tax as part of the proposal that is being discussed in the legislature. Instead of the full 14 percent tax right away, certain tourism operations will pay just 2 percent the first year, 10 percent the second year and then 14 percent in the third year. There is no guarantee that this proposal will survive legislative debate, although it is backed by the central government.