Tourism officials report significant rise in visitors

The tourism institute is reporting a 5.4 percent increase in foreigners arriving on tourism visas for the first six months of the year. The statistics also show significant increases of North Americans and Europeans.

The institute, using figures supplied by the Dirección General de Migración, said that 1,391,617 tourists arrive in the country during that period. The institute also said that 946,103 came by air. That represented a 7.6 percent increase over the same period, January to June, in 2013, said the institute.

There was less than a 1 percent increase in those arriving by land, according to the statistics. That number was 439,151 and the travelers are mainly Central Americans.

The Institute Costarricense de Turismo also reported that 6,363 tourists came by ship, which is a 18.9 percent increase.

Perhaps the most important static was the number of tourists who came from North America, mainly Canada and the United States. In 2013 that number was 663,072. The total for 2014 is 712,458. according to the tourism institute.

That represents an increase of  nearly 7.5 percent.

European visitors also were up by more than 30,000. In 2013 there were 149,430 European tourists, according to the archived institute figures. This year through June there have been 179,743 or a bit more than 20 percent more.

The tourism institute said that the statistics exclude Costa Ricans and those foreigners who were entering the country on temporary work permits. That last group would include agricultural workers.

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