Costa Rica announces 20 new measures for the relief and reactivation of the tourism sector
Among the short-term provisions, the gradual opening to the Chinese market and improvements in tourism infrastructure stand out
In the company of the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, the Rector Minister of Tourism, Gustavo J. Segura announced on Wednesday 20 new reactivation and relief measures for the tourism sector that include, among others, the gradual opening of the Chinese market from Beijing and Shanghai as of March 1; an investment of ¢ 2,250 million in tourist infrastructure to be carried out in protected areas and a boost to national tourism through cumulative days in the public sector that will allow one day off a week.
In addition, tourist transport operators that have renewed their permits in 2021 will be granted a 2-year extension and the maximum number of years of age of their units will be extended.
In the case of tourist companies with losses in 2020, the Treasury will facilitate the procedures so that they can suspend partial payments of income tax.
Meanwhile, the National Council for the Supervision of the Financial System (Conassif), issued an agreement that gives flexibility to banking entities to make long-term considerations in the analysis of the payment capacity of debtors in the tourism sector and extended until 31 December. December 2021 the measures that allow modifying the contractual conditions of loans to households and companies.
To obtain or renew the operating permit, tourism SMEs will have to pay only $ 20 and 20% of the cost of the sanitary registration.
Hotel and gastronomic workers in the Chorotega and Huetar Norte regions will benefit from two business rounds with agricultural, livestock and fishing producers in order to lower intermediation costs.
These measures complement the tourism recovery plan drawn up in the roadmap designed by the ICT in conjunction with the private sector in 2020, as well as the reopening of air borders to all countries in the world last November, the arrival of new lines air and national and international marketing campaigns.
"The tourism sector is the most affected of our economy because of the pandemic and, recognizing this reality, we have adopted as a Government, with the leadership of ICT and other institutions, a group of measures to push the reactivation of tourist activity," said Carlos Alvarado, President of the Republic Alvarado highlighted the openness to Chinese tourism and the strengthening of the bilateral relationship with China, which is now 13 years old.
"To rise up and continue to be the engine of the national economy, the tourism sector needs the assistance of all state institutions ”, said the Minister of Tourism in a press conference at the ICT.
"The President of the Republic supported our call and today we have short-term solutions that will contribute to alleviate tourism companies in such a way that as many as possible survive the onslaught of the pandemic and are part of the recovery of tourism," added the hierarch.
The measures were proposed by the ministries of Labor and Social Security, Public Security, Foreign Relations and Worship, Finance, Agriculture and Livestock, Health, Environment and Energy, Economy, Industry and Commerce and Culture, as well as the Institute of Rural Development, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Instituto de Asesoría y Fomento Municipal, INCOPESCA and Conassif.
About 10% of China's people travel internationally, or about 140 million people. By 2027, the number of people with passports is expected to reach 300 million, which is equivalent to 20% of the Chinese population.
In order to explore this market, the ICT, the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship agreed to the visa exception for the entry of tourists from Beijing and Shanghai, with a response in a maximum of 72 hours. The measure, which will take effect on March 1, is part of a gradual scheme that includes requirements such as the acquisition of a tourism package with a duly registered Costa Rican tour operator company.
In 2019, the country counted 16,847 international arrivals of Chinese through all routes of entry to the country.