Reversal sought for cruise ship decline

Costa Rican tourism officials are trying to reverse a trend that has cut cruise ship arrivals by nearly 45 percent since 2009-2010.

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo reports that in the 2009-2010 season 270 cruise ships docked in Costa Rican ports. In 2014-2015 the number was 150.

The tourism institute said that its staffers are displaying at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, show this week in an effort to attract cruise customers and cruise line commitments.

Mauricio Ventura, the minister of Turismo, has pointed out the need to improve the facilities in ports on both coasts.

The possibility of crime and costs are among the reasons cruise chips might skip Costa Rica. And for a time there was labor unrest in Limón.

There is another factor, and that is Cuba. Major cruise ship lines are anxious to dock at Cuban ports. They are reported awaiting approval from the Cuban government. Some lines already have approval. The Communist island will be a major competitor with Costa Rica in the future.

Costa Rica usually is considered an intermediate stop for cruise captains after transiting the Panamá Canal. The arrival of cruise ships means more business for hundreds of merchants and land tour operators in Puntarenas and Limón.

Costa Rican officials said they are being joined by representatives from the national firms Asuaire Travel, Swiss Travel Costa Rica and Transocean Expeditions in Florida.

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