The Save the Americans and Save the Canadians tourism campaigns have been extended until the end of the year, according to Alejandro Castro, marketing director of Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.
The campaign promotes Costa Rica as an escape spot for overworked Americans and Canadians. To attract visitors, it relies on videos, social network interactions and special activities like building giant sand animals in strategic cities.
It was intended to finish last January, however, it will keep running until December. By then, the campaign will have cost $6 million. From that amount, 85 percent will be invested in the United States market and 15 percent in the Canadian one, according to Castro.
“We will be extracting as much juice as possible from it.” Castro said, using common Costa Rican slang. “That’s how we face the challenge of competing against countries like New Zealand and Ecuador, and the American states of Hawaii and Alaska, which are all well positioned among North Americans.” he added.
According to Alexa, an internet search engine that provides data on website traffic, SavetheAmericans.org has 1.5 daily page
views per visitor, who spend 2.32 minutes on it.
In the case of SavetheCanadians.org, the engine provides no data except that there is one daily page view per visitor. Despite the numbers, Castro admitted that there is no way to accurately measure how many direct bookings the campaign has generated. He said that it promotes the country as a whole, for the benefit of the entire industry and not just hospitality.
“We seek people to know about the country as a destination.” he explained.
The government said that in 2015, 2.6 million visitors arrived to the country, creating at least 150,000 jobs and accounting for 5.4 percent of the Domestic Gross Product. However, the official data has been challenged as inaccurate, for it reports all visitors and does not filter those who are actually tourists and those who are not.
“Tourism figures are very positive and for that we all cheer, but they create a distance of what’s really going on,” said Karla Prendas, legislator of Partido Liberación Nacional.
“And yes, we are going through a momentum in tourism thanks to the high value of the dollar. However, we are below the region´s tourism growth index. What´s going on,” she asked, while addressing fellow lawmakers Wednesday.