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Costa Rica Enters World Competition For Investments In Tourism

Costa Rica officially enters the world competition for the attraction of investment in tourism, holding a specialized meeting on the matter, on November 13 and 14, at the Real Continental Hotel, that will be attended by high-level entrepreneurs from Asia, Middle East, and America.

The Costa Rica Sustainable Tourism Investment Conference is the first for Costa Rica, aiming to promote investment opportunities in the country, to explore new projects, establish contacts and develop business networking in the region

However, the local chambers of tourism confirmed Monday (October 30) they have doubts about the conference and are looking for more information about the organization, the participation and the mechanics of the event. Also they say they are unclear about the potential investors that will be attending.

Tourism Minister, Mauricio Ventura, said that with this event Costa Rica aims to build the ‘third of three legs of the tourism table’: increase the number arrivals by way of more airlines serving the country, to increase the income of tourist arrivals as a result of more flights, and attract more investment.

Without providing details, Ventura said high level representatives of companies and business groups interested in investments in Costa Rica will be attending the conference.

The Minister also defended the cost of about US$500,000 for the event, saying comparatively to the US$4 billion dollars generated annually by the tourism sector, the amount is small and that the conference, in the medium term, could generate an additional investment of US$100 million dollars annually.

Data from the Banco Central de Costa Rica (Central Bank) indicates that direct investment in tourism is up.

The conference is being organized with the advice of the specialized company Sahic, whose president Arturo García believes that Costa Rica has taken a very important step to be on the world map and on the radar of tourism investors.

García said that, in general, the results of the conferences begin to be seen after about three years of the conference, but that the strategy has to start at some point.

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – tourism board – expects at least 150 potential investors will come to the conference, who, according to García, many for the first time representing companies that are not present in the local tourism sector.

For their part, Isabel Vargas, president of the Nacional de Turismo (Canatur) and Johnny Riba, president of the Camara Costarricense de Hoteles (CCH), expressed their enthusiasm for the specialized event, but also their doubts about the choice of Costa Ricans that will be present and the speed in which the event was being organized.

Vargas said she agreed that the conference is something very positive and necessary, because Costa Rica has to enter to play in the big leagues of attracting tourism investment.

Meanwhile, Riba warned: “What we do not know is how it was organized, with how much lead time, nor who the participants are, we have doubts about that and tomorrow (on Tuesday 31) we will note them in writing to the minister”, he emphasized.

Nonetheless, Riba expressed his general support for the conference. “The attraction of investments is extremely important and is vital to maintaining the sector,” he added.

Interested in attending the conference? This is an invitation-only event. Participation is at no charge by ICT Invitation and is subject to availability. Inquires: Verónica Bracchi – registration@sahic.com – +54 (11) 5217-4544