Costa Rica has a similar problem of collecting good data on tourism as Panama. As this article in AM Costa Rica points out, although the official tourism number are 2 million, when you take out all the central American visitors and the residential tourists who come and go about 4 times a year, the real number of free spending tourist is closer to 200,000. This seems rather low to me, but Panama touts similar numbers and when we break it down we come up with fewer than 100,000 actual tourists. As I have pointed out a number of times, most people visiting Panama are here for business. A tourist will go into the country side to the see the flora and fauna and get a feel for the culture of the country. The sheer lack of hotels in the interior and low occupancy rates tell the real story. Glad to hear we are not so far behind our neighbor to the north.
Tourism institute seeks help in branding the country.
With a tourism industry in distress and an erosion of the nation's worldwide image, government officials want to put a new face on the country.
In a message sent out over the name of Carlos Ricardo Benavides, tourism minister, residents here and individuals elsewhere are invited to have their say on what the new Costa Rican image might be. There is a survey posted to a Web site.
In the e-mail Benavides explained that what officials hope to obtain is more than a logo or a slogan. They seek to demonstrate the social values held by the people here. He said that the effort would require intense work but did not specify how much the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo might have budgeted for the process.
Benavides said that qualitative and quantitative techniques will be used to focus on the new image.
The institute has been slow in adopting valid methods. In fact, despite having identified a New Jersey family as the 2 millionth visitor in 2008, the institute does not really know how many tourists entered Costa Rica.