New tourism group unhappy with classification of tourists

The new tourism group, the Asociacion Para La Proteccion Del Turismo en Costa Rica, says it plans to bring a legal action against the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo because the visitor statistics released by the agency contains more than tourists.

More than that, however, is the fact that some 400,000 Nicaraguans are counted as tourists, which allowed Costa Rican officials to boast of hosting more than 2 million visitors each year. A.M. Costa Rica has reported this fact repeatedly citing the tourism institutes own statistics.

The tourism institute gets the data from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.

The tourism association that is know as ProTur, also questioned the tourism institute’s latest promotion, The gift of Hapinness. that featured a talking sloth. This is the promotion that handed out free trips to North Americans. ProTur wonders why an Atlanta, Georgia, ad agency got the contract for the project without any kind of competitive bidding.

The Atlanta agency, 22squared, created a campaign that used social media, such as Facebook to promote the country.

The tourism institute adopted the three-toed sloth as a mascot for the $6.4 million promotional scheme that gave away 80 free trips for two with the hope that the recipients say good things about the country on the social networks.

The tourism institute posted on its Facebook page photos and responses from persons the agency said made the trip. However, there are only initials instead of last names and insufficient identification information to contact the winners.

ProTur also is unhappy because the winners of the free trips were housed in upscale hotels and smaller operations did not receive any benefit from the promotion.

The tourism institute has not announced any benefit that came from the campaign, which ended in February.

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