Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tourism Facts and Figures

Tourism in Costa Rica is one of the fastest growing economic sectors of the country and as of 1995 became the largest foreign exchange earner.

Since 1999, tourism earns more foreign exchange than bananas, pineapples and coffee combined.

The tourism boom began in 1987,with the number of visitors up from 329,000 in 1988, through 1.03 million in 1999, to 2.09 million foreign visitors in 2008, allowing the country to earn $2.14 billion in that year.

In 2008, tourism contributed with 7.2% of the country's GDP, 22.7% of foreign exchange generated by all exports, and in 2005 it was responsible for 13.3% of direct and indirect employment.

Since the late 1980s Costa Rica became a popular nature travel destination, with a well established system of Natural Parks and Reserves covering around 25% of the country's land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country's territory!

Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world's biodiversity despite covering only 0.03% of the world's landmass

With a US$2-billion-a-year tourism industry, Costa Rica stands as the most visited nation in the Central American region, with 1.974 million foreign visitors in 2007.

As a result of the current global economic crises visitors began falling since August 2008, as the number of U.S. citizens visiting the country shrank, and this market segment represents 54% of all foreign tourists visiting Costa Rica. Between December 2008 and May 2009, which includes the high season, tourists arrivals felt by 12 percent.

In terms of 2009 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), Costa Rica ranked 42nd in the world ranking, remaining as the most competitive among Latin American Countries n countries since 2008, and ranking second if the Caribbean is included.

In 2008 most vistors came from the United States (38.6%), neighboring Nicaragua (21.8%), and Canada (5.2%). Tourist revenues from North America and European countries, which together made up 60% of all visitors, contributed to achieve a relatively high expenditure per tourist of $1000 per visitor, both in 2007 and 2008.

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