Solís asked to unfreeze bill to help tourism firms

A bill in the legislature is designed to salvage tourism operations that are in financial trouble.

The bill, No. 19318, empowers the Banca para el Desarrollo to pick up the debt that these micro, small and medium tourism operations now have and restructure them with professional help. The government bank could purchase debt from state and private commercial banks and perhaps save tourism operations from going to auction, according to a summary of the bill.

The measure has been in the legislative hopper since last year and now would need approval by Casa Presidencial to be placed on the active agenda. During certain periods of the legislative year, the executive branch has that power.

Karla Prendas Matarrita of the Partido Liberación Nacional addressed the full Asamblea Legislativa Thurday and urged President Luis Guillermo Solís to clear the bill for action.

The proposal would seek tourism operations that are in financial difficulty but still economically or socially viable, said the bill summary. Representatives of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo and the  Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica would examine the matarrita022715operations to determine if financial help should be given.

The bill also would give the government the right to take over the project by appointing what the bill said were independent professionals to administer the business for a time.

The summary to the bill said that there were many small tourism businesses created in the heat of the real estate boom and without a long-term vision. These enterprises suffered in the 2008 crisis, the bill said.

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