As expected, mid-year vacationers favored beaches

Despite promotions and special officers, hospitality operators report Costa Ricans and residents, the so-called national tourism market, only filled about 45 percent of the available rooms during the mid-year vacation that ended a week ago.

That was the result of a survey of 104 hospitality operators by the Cámera Nacional de Turismo. And the national tourists generally opted for cheaper accommodations, said a report of the survey.

Of course, locations in beach resorts fared better.

The survey also determined that occupancy by all tourists, both foreign and domestic, was about 73 percent in northern Guanacaste and the central Pacific during the period. The survey was done from June 29 to July 15, said the chamber.

Mid-year vacation is one of those periods that tourism operators count on to pay the bills. The downside is that many Costa Ricans end up staying with friends or family at vacation spots, so they would not show up in this survey.

Occupancy by national tourists ranged from 78 percent in southern Guanacaste to 14 percent in the northern Caribbean, said the survey. Only four of two regions, southern and northern Guanacaste, the Puntarenas area including the southern part of the Nicoya peninsula and the southern Pacific reported national occupancy greater than 50 percent.

The survey reported that most Costa Ricans favored one-star hotels of 200 rooms or more.

Juan Carlos Ramos, chamber president, said the survey showed the need to continue developing strategies to capture this national tourist market.

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