In 2023, Costa Rica celebrated a successful year in tourism, showing its prominence as a top global destination based on new information from the nation’s General Directorate of Migration. The country received a record-setting 2,471,150 visitors by air between January and December 2023, a massive 16.7% increase compared to 2022 arrivals. This number also indicates a resilient growth of 2.2% when compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, breaking Costa Rica’s previous air arrival record.
Minister of Tourism William Rodriguez praised the historic figures, saying they exceeded pre-pandemic benchmarks. He attributed the achievements to strategic promotion in key markets, restored flight connectivity, and exceptional visitor experiences created through public-private collaboration. Air arrivals reached new heights in December 2023, witnessing an 18% year-over-year growth. Both main airports, Juan Santamaría International Airport and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, saw considerable expansion last December.
The analysis shows that the North American market contributed significantly to the expansion, with over 1.75 million visitors in 2023. The United States led the way, followed by Canada and Mexico. European nations, especially France, Germany, and the Netherlands, also played a crucial role in the growth.
Minister Rodriguez emphasized the cooperation between public and private sector stakeholders in restoring passenger volumes through coordinated tourism marketing, reestablished flight connectivity, and innovative hospitality concepts. He said the new all-time highs in both main airport hubs and crucial overseas markets validate Costa Rica’s position as a leading tourism destination post-pandemic.
Industry leaders, including Juan Santamaría International Airport CEO Ricardo Hernández, expressed optimism about continued growth due to recently added routes from major American airlines. He predicts continued strong arrivals in their core North American markets with new direct services from cities like Cleveland, St. Louis, Austin, and others.
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