Tourist arrivals to Costa Rica Up 12.8% as airlines increase airlift from the UK, France, Spain and Germany.

Tourist arrivals to Costa Rica surged by 12.8% last year to reach a record total of 2.9 million visitors.

Tourist Arrivals to Costa Rica Up 12.8%

According to Costa Rica’s tourist board – the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – a total of 2,925,128 international tourism arrivals were recorded during the course of 2016.

70% of arrivals were by air; the remainder were by land and sea.

The total represents number approximately 260,000 more visitor arrivals than during the previous year.

Mauricio Ventura, Minister of Tourism and head of the ICT, commented: “We experienced growth in our international airports, figures never before registered both by air and at all ports of entry, closing the year with almost 3 million arrivals.”

The Minister said that of more than 1.5 million air arrivals landed at San Jose’s Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia (LIR), Guanacaste accounted for more than 570,000 air arrivals.

Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Large Increase in UK Air Arrivals

Air arrivals to Costa Rica from Europe surpassed 430,000.

According to the statistics, for the first time ever Costa Rica attracted more visitors from the UK than from any other European country.

In total, 71,932 British visitors were recorded last year.

This represents a major increase of 50.3% compared to 2015’s total of 47,499. The increase is primarily a result of British Airways’ introduction of direct flights from London Gatwick Airport to Costa Rica in 2016.

Arrivals from other major European source markets were as follows: Germany – 67,939; Spain – 67,453; France – 61,503; Switzerland – 21,242.

The strong arrivals figures are also largely a result of new direct flights or more frequent flight service to Costa Rica with Iberia from Spain, Air France from France, Condor from Germany and Edelweiss from Switzerland.

Further Increases Expected in 2017

This year tourist arrivals to Costa Rica are expected to rise further.

The tourist board expects approximately 4.6 million visitors in 2017.

Over the coming years travel to and from Costa Rica will also be enhanced through a $100 million upgrade to Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose which is set to begin this may.

Costa Rica Real Estate Set to Benefit Too

The flourishing tourism market, increased airlift and infrastructure improvements are all factors of high appealing not only to tourists, but also to property buyers with an eye on Costa Rica real estate.

So, 2017 is expected to be a positive year for both tourism and real estate in Costa Rica.