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INSIDECOSTARICA.COM | COSTA RICA  NEWS |   Friday 11 November 2011

Panama Surpasses Costa Rica In Tourism Growth

Panama as a tourist destination has surpassed Costa Rica, its largest competitor in the region in terms of percentage growth of tourism and is almost neck and neck in terms of numbers.

In the third quarter of this year the Costa Rican tourism authorities reported a 4% decrease in visitor arrivals, while Panama recorded an an increase of 11% says La Prensa in that country.

Costa Rica attributes the decline to the international crisis, but tourism publications also refer to the good results from international promotion.

The decline is due to the fact that the "neighbor to the south (Panama) has made an effective media blitz and public relations strategy in international markets," which has made drawn tourists to Panama.

Statistics of the Central American Tourism Council show that between 2006 and 2010, tourist arrivals grew 43% in Panama, while Costa Rica reported an increase of 20%.

For Juan Carlos de Bourbon, director general of the Instituto Costarrisence de Turismo (ICT) - Costa Rican Tourism Institute, Panama is doing a good job in tourism.

During the country's participation in the Travel Market, Bourbon said that he analyzed some marketing strategies in place by Panama, such as free insurance for tourists.

This year the ICT expects tourists visits of 2.2 million, while in Panama is estimated over 2 million visitors.

Solomon Shamah, administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority, said the us$600,000 that was invested in marketing studies have identified the tourist preferences in major markets like the U.S., Europe and South America.

Tour operators say it is necessary to attract more visitors to buy vacation packages that include tours of the interior.

In Costa Rica visitors buy packages that include tours of the mountains and beaches, which has a greater impact in communities outside the capital of San Josť.

Many tourists visiting San Josť complain of the lack of real tourist activities, for after visiting the museum, the national theatre and walk on the boulevard, there is hardly anything to do in the afternoon or evening.


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