Tourism officials and local firms seeking more business from China

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo joined seven domestic businesses to travel to the China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market in Beijing which runs from Wednesday through Friday.

Officials are confident that their presence at the fair will attract a rather immediate flow of Chinese travelers to Costa Rica. Allan Flores, the minister of Turismo, said China’s population numbers alone tell why its an obvious target for travel marketing.

“Exploring new market options to promote and position Costa Rica as an excellent tourism destination has been one of the challenges constantly in front of us,” Flores said. “We’re working on the execution of effective strategies in key markets, and in this case China represents a business opportunity due to the level of supply and demand that Chinese citizens give.”

After waiving Russian visa requirements last week, Flores and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo are stressing initiatives that could draw in a different demographic to Costa Rica.

This year marks the second time the country has participated in the Chinese travel fair. According to Ireth Rodríguez, marketing director at the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, this event allows for valuable face-to-face communication between travel agencies and potential tourists.

Agents are able to schedule appointments,  answer any questions, and provide direct information that they otherwise could not.

“The participation in this fair is a step towards the strengthening of Costa Rica as a tourist destination,” Ms. Rodríguez said. “It’s consistent with the strategy of attracting new tourists while using these exploratory trips as a resource that serve to analyze needs and preferences, as is the case in China.”

More than 120 Chinese businessmen have been invited to a presentation hosted by the Instituto  Costarricense de Turismo and set for today. Tourism employees said they intend to discuss the country’s worth as a consistent destination. The seven Costa Rican travel businesses are planning on setting up shop at the Costa Rican Embassy in China to clear any doubts or concerns about visa processes.

The World Trade Organization has data estimating China as the biggest source for tourists in the world. In the first nine months of 2013, their tourism spending amount increased by 28 percent, surpassing travelers from both Germany and the United States.

More than 4,000 interested Chinese professionals and citizens plan to attend the travel fair. The audience will be made up of government officials, hotel workers, tour operators, real estate agents, and more.

Last year Costa Rica recorded nearly 8,000 international arrivals from China.

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