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It’s official: Costa Rica tourism industry wants more Europeans

San Jose, Costa Rica. Photo: Rainer Lesniewski/123RF 

In just two years Costa Rica went from one to eight European airlines flying directly to San José, Costa Rica’s capital.

According to a Costa Rican report seven of the eight companies have started flying to the country in the last two years (Iberia from Spain, British Airways and Thomson Airways from the UK, Condor from Germany, Air France from France, Edelweiss from Switzerland, KLM from the Netherlands and Lufthansa from Germany).

Direct flights used between Costa Rica and Europe fly mostly from mains cities in the UK, Spain, France and Germany, and less so from Holland.

KLM flies twice a week between Amsterdam and San Jose throughout the European winter season. There is enormous amount of benefits generated from the arrival of a new flight, not only for tourism, but for various economic sectors in communities that are linked to tourism, as well as exporters and productive sectors linked to foreign trade. The Netherlands is one of the main countries exporting to Costa Rica.

Air France now has permanent flights between France and Costa Rica, after a trial period. Pia Lackman, general manager of Air France / KLM for Central America and Panama, states that “… these decisions have been made thanks to the growing demand of the market. Starting April 1st, 2018, we will maintain two of Air France’s flights, so that Costa Rica will be permanently connected to France”.

The arrival of European tourists is continuously growing. Between January and June 2017, 219 thousand tourists came into the country from Europe, 6% more than the figure recorded in the first half of last year. During the first half of the year, Europe showed steady growth in international arrivals (8.4% by air and a 6% increase for all routes to the country), according to data provided by the Directorate General of Migration and Aliens and analysed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.

France was the leading country for international arrivals by air, with a total of 35,759 arrivals, followed by the United Kingdom with 35,759 and Germany with 27,856.