State-run convention center gets approval for loans

The tourism institute has taken another step toward getting a $12 million loan to build a national convention center.

The site is in Barreal de Heredia along the General Cañas autopista.

The La Gaceta offical newspaper on the Web contained an authorization by the Banco Central de Costa Rica. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo sought the central bank’s blessing last year and now plans to negotiate loans with Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica, it said.

The central bank became involved because a loan of that magnitude might affect the balance of payments.

The proposed facility would hold 4,500 persons and contain associated rooms, restaurants, kitchens and open air exhibition areas.

The proposal has been in the works for years, and at one time the country expected the government of Taiwan to come up with the money for the project.

But when then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez broke with Taiwan in favor of the People’s Republic of China, the project was left a financial orphan.

The center comes at a time when the number of convention goers in the United States has dropped significantly. At the same time, the number of convention centers have mushroomed.

Cities and states see convention centers as a way to tap income from visitors with a lot of disposable     income who require no long-term public services.
The tourism institute repeated Wednesday its hope that the convention center would stimulate more tourism traffic for the country.

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