Tourism operators hope holiday will bring in cash

With the tourism industry between seasons, those in the industry are hoping that the holiday Thursday will give them a boost.

Some hospitality firms are offering from 20 to 50 percent discounts, said the Cámera Nacional de Turismo. The campaigns are directed primarily at Costa Ricans.

The tourism industry counts on the dry season, high season, but it also counts on a secondary high season during the Northern Hemisphere summer when teachers, students and other vacationers come to the country. That period begins in May.

Thursday is Juan Santamaría day, a legal holiday, and many Costa Ricans will be taking a long weekend. The offers put the prices into what many Costa Ricans can afford. For example, the travel agency My Costa Rica has prepared a tour of Parque Nacional Corcovado on the Osa peninsula that includes transportation, food, snorkeling and overnighting in tents, said the chamber.

The holiday also means that the center city license plate rule will not be enforced and that public offices and embassies will be closed except for emergencies. The U.S. Embassy confirmed this Monday.

Juan Santamaría was the soldier who died while setting fire to an enemy stronghold at the Battle of Santa Rosa in 1856. That was the campaign that frustrated U.S. filibuster William Walker and his plans to invade Costa Rica.

There will be a parade in Alajuela, the hometown of Santamaría.

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