Key focuses for 2021
Costa Rica ready to welcome back UK visitors
Costa Rica re-opened its borders to UK travellers on 1 August 2020, following their nearly four-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To allow visitors to enter Costa Rica, visitors will need to complete a digital epidemiological form and have travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses for acute illness. A negative result of the PCR Covid-19 test carried out in the 72 hours prior to the trip is not necessary for passengers who enter the country by air. Costa Rica’s two international airports, Juan Santamaría in San José and Daniel Oduber in Liberia, have also added new health measures for all passengers arriving into the country. Further information on entry requirements can be found here.
Costa Rica’s sector-wide recovery efforts were recognised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The organisation gave Costa Rica its Safe Travels stamp – the world’s first global safety and hygiene stamp – which allows travellers to identify destinations and businesses which have adopted the global standardised health and hygiene protocols. WTTC’s Safe Travels scheme is supported by World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Gustavo Segura Sancho, Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister from July 2020
The President of Costa Rica, Mr. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, appointed Gustavo Segura Sancho as the country’s new Tourism Minister and Executive President of the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) in July 2020, replacing María Amalia Revelo Raventós as head of the department. Gustavo Segura Sancho has a degree in Economics from the University of Costa Rica and an MBA in Sustainable Development from the prestigious INCAE Business School. His professional career includes extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. He spent seven years in the hotel industry as well as six years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), five of them as its Vice President. Due to his vast experience in sustainable tourism, Segura Sancho was a key player in the implementation of Costa Rica’s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST). Three clear areas are the main priorities for Gustavo Segura Sancho as Tourism Minister: the return of international flights gradually and safely; the implementation of tools to ease the financial difficulties of tourism companies; and the execution of measures to reactivate the economy.
Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa, named as the next World Surfing Reserve
Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa has recently awarded the next ‘World Surfing Reserve’, becoming the first beach in Central America to hold this prestigious title and the world’s thirteenth. Playa Hermosa, on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is renowned for having some of the most consistent waves in the world and for holding the ISA World Surf Championship in 2009. Running some 5 miles long, it is one of the country’s most popular surfing beaches, welcoming surf enthusiasts from around the world every year. Playa Hermosa has been added to the list of World Surfing Reserves due to its world-class waves, the rich biodiversity of the area, strong community support and a clear conservation vision. Costa Rica joins now the likes of the Gold Coast in Australia and Malibu in California, positioning itself as a world leader in surfing.
San Lucas Island becomes Costa Rica’s 30th national park
Costa Rica has welcomed its 30th national park: San Lucas Island, located off the Pacific coast of the Gulf of Nicoya. The purpose of the new park is to develop sustainable tourism as well as contributing to the socio-economic development of the area. Previously a Wildlife Refuge, San Lucas Island National Park is made up of both land and coastal areas and covers 1.8 square miles. Howler monkeys, spiders, snakes, deer and pheasants are some of the wildlife that can be found on the island. With an investment of over £224,000, the new national park now features new trails, toilets, water and electricity systems and 24-hour surveillance. Over 50 tourist guides have been trained to show the historical island, which served as a prison until 1991. San Lucas Island is easily accessible by a 40-minute boat ride from the city of Puntarenas, located 60 miles away from San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. Costa Rica’s protected areas now encompass more than 28% of its land mass.
Costa Rica, recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council for its efforts on sustainability
Costa Rica has been recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) for the continuous efforts in developing and strengthening its sustainable tourism. The ‘GSTC-Recognised Standard’ status is related to the country’s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) and further strengthens Costa Rica’s position as a global leader in sustainability. Launched by the Costa Rica Tourism Board in 1997, the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) was created to provide guidelines for hotel properties and service providers to build their business model based on sustainable tourism practices. The CST is backed by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and, now, also by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Costa Rica is well known as a global leader in sustainability – the country produces nearly 99% of its electricity from renewable resources and it is currently home to over 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity. Costa Rica also aims to become one of the first countries to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Costa Rica creates an innovative proposal to mitigate deforestation by using Google Earth Engine
Earlier this year, Costa Rica submitted a pioneering proposal to reduce deforestation through the use of technology and space information generated by satellite imagery from the GEO-Google Earth Engine License Programme. The initiative, called Tackling deforestation and forest degradation in Costa Rica using Google Earth Engine, was submitted to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) as part of a programme in partnership with Google. The two organisations will offer 25 licenses for the sustained use of Google Earth Engine (GEE) for projects using Earth observation data to address global challenges related to climate change, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction, among others. The 2-year, full-access licenses aim to empower public sector and commercial recipients to tackle significant societal challenges and improve understanding of our planet.