Updated on June 7, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Costa Rican tourism has been one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the United States, becoming the largest foreign exchange earner by 1995. Tourism has brought in more money than bananas, pineapples, and espresso exports combined since 1999. Tourism attracted 17% of international direct funding inflows in 2009, and 13% on average between 2000 and 2009.

Costa Rica has grown in popularity as a natural vacation spot since the late 1980s, and its main competitive benefit is its well-managed system of national parks and protected areas, which protects roughly 23.4 percent of the United States’ land area, the most withinside the international as a percentage of the United States’ territory, and is home to a diverse variety of flowers and fauna, even though the country has only 0.03 percent of the world’s landmass. The United States also features a plethora of beaches, both on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, within short driving distances, as well as various volcanoes that can be safely explored. Costa Rica had become known as the poster child of ecotourism by the early 1990s, with yearly tourist arrivals increasing at a rate of 14 percent on average between 1986 and 1994. According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board, in 2009, 47 percent of international vacationers visiting the United States participated in ecotourism activities like trekking, flora, fauna, and fowl watching, as well as visits to rural communities. The majority of site visitors, on the other hand, are looking for adventure sports.

Costa Rica is now one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, having implemented a hydrocarbon tax and invested in the best country-wide price for environmental services, as well as becoming the world’s largest buyer of forested area carbon. Furthermore, Costa Rica has established a goal of becoming a carbon-neutral country by the year 2021. Change liberalization has been one of the pillars of Costa Rica’s financial recovery, allowing exports to rise from a low of 30% of GDP in 1980 to a high of 50% now. Foreign visitors are attracted to the United States because of its natural environment structure and sightseeing beaches. All of the tourist attractions have resulted in significant social advancements.

Costa Rica Tourism Statistics

  1. The tourism boom began in 1987, with traffic rising from 329,000 in 1988 to 1.03 million in 1999, over 2 million in 2008, and finally reaching an all-time high of 266 million in 2015.
  2. In 2010, the tourist industry was responsible for 21.2 percent of the foreign currency generated through exports.
  3. According to an ECLAC report from 2007, tourism contributed to a 0.58% reduction in poverty within the Costa Rica.
  4. In 2012, tourism provided 12.5 percent of GDP to the United States and was responsible for 11.7 percent of direct and indirect jobs.
  5. Costa Rica’s GDP is based on tourism, which accounts for 8.2 percent of the country’s total.
  6. In 2018, the tourist industry created 211,000 direct jobs, accounting for 8.8% of total employment in the country.
  7. Costa Rica is the most visited country in Central America, with 3.0 million visitors from outside the country in 2018.
  8. In 2008, the number of tourists visiting Costa Rica surpassed two million, with tourist-related revenues reaching $2.1 billion.
  9. As a result of the Great Recession, international arrivals began to decline in August 2008, as the number of Americans traveling to the United States decreased, and this market period constituted 54 percent of all international visitors to Costa Rica.
  10. The combined impact of the global financial crisis and the 2009 flu pandemic resulted in a 9% drop in traveler arrivals in 2009, to 1.9 million site visitors, compared to 1.9 million in 2008.
  11. In 2010, the number of site visits increased to 2.1 million, slightly topping the peak of 2008, and a new record was set in 2012 with 2.34 million visitors, a 6.9% increase over 2011.
  12. In 2014, a historic figure of 2.5 million global travel traffic arrived in the United States.
  13. This represents a 4.1 percent increase year over year, with comparable receipts of $2.636 billion in 2014, up 8.3 percent from the previous year.
  14. In addition, the average vacationer expenditure increased from $1,171 in 2010 to $1,431 in 2014, and the average stay increased from eleven days in 2010 to 13.4 days in 2014.
  15. Costa Rica set new records in 2016, with 2.93 million visitors and $3.716 billion in revenue.
  16. In 2018, the United States of America passed the three million tourist mark including an average tourist of 1.7 million in Costa Rica.
  17. In 2019, the overall number of tourists to Costa Rica increased by 6.13 percent over the previous year.
  18. Costa Rica welcomed 3.1 million international tourists in 2018, increasing 4.1 percent from the previous year, according to government figures released earlier this month.
  19. The total number of visitors visited Costa Rica from the whole United States was 1,334,777, up 5.5 percent over the previous year.
  20. The 234,621 Canadian visitors in 2019 marked an increase of 8.1 percent over the previous year.
  21. The budget for the tourist board in 2019 was CRC 42.4 billion.
  22. The overall number of foreign tourists visiting Costa Rica in 2019 was 3,366,000, however, this number will reduce to 1,146,500 in 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic.
  23. Costa Rica received a total of one million tourists in 2020, placing it 19th in the world in terms of total visitors.
  24. It is self-evident that smaller international places usually experience a reduction in the total number of visitors as Costa Rica ranks 87th in foreign tourism attractions, according to residents, with 0.23 holiday makers.
  25. Costa Rica came in third place in Central America, generating almost 1.48 billion US dollars in the tourism quarter alone.
  26. This equates to 2.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and nearly 9% of all worldwide tourism receipts in Central America.
  27. Each of the vacationers arriving in 2020 spent an average of 1,091 US Dollars.
  28. Costa Ricans, on the other hand, spend as much as $1,819 per year after taking vacations overseas.
  29. A one-time USD 15 tourism fee on overseas arrivals accounts for around 55.5 percent of the funds.
  30. Domestic tourist taxes account for 17.1% of the budget, while a 5% tax on all outbound travel accounts for another 25%.
  31. Tourism revenues totaled 763.00 million dollars in 1995, accounting for approximately 6.6 percent of the gross domestic product.
  32. At the time, this equated to around 924,000 travelers and more or less $826 each person.
  33. In the final year of the survey, sales totaled 1.48 billion dollars, amounting to 2.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
  34. Each traveler currently spends an average of $1,290 on his Costa Rica holiday.
  35. Following the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, Costa Rica’s domestic travel volume increased by 33% in 2021.
  36. In that year, the region of Central America received just over one million visitors.
  37. Poverty has fallen from 40% to less than 20% in the last two decades.
  38. All routes reported 1,130,377 tourist arrivals from January to November, and on December 13, Costa Rica completed the return of the 29 airlines that flew to national soil prior to the pandemic, with the exception of those who had to suspend operations owing to their own circumstances.
  39. By 2021, Costa Rica was expected to receive over 1.7 million visitors, with an estimated public from the United States and Canada in near future.
  40. Costa Rica Tourism generates on average more than $1.7 billion in annual revenue in the United States.
  41. One of the goals for 2022 is to raise the number of seats and come even closer to pre-pandemic levels (338,693 seats in December 2021 compared to 392,583 seats in 2019), according to the tourism Minister continued.
  42. It is estimated that up to 80% of all visitors from the United States will participate in eco-tourism activities in Costa Rica in 2022.