Alan Flores, now serving his second term as Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism, feels more comfortable in his shoes. With several projects continuing over from his last term, as well as many plans for future marketing and improvements, the Costa Rican Tourism Minister has a lot to be excited about.
As the tourism industry recovers from the impact of the economic crisis, Flores plans to focus on offering support to investors in order to develop more small businesses throughout the country. In addition to this, Flores is heading plans for a new airport infrastructure, a new conference center to be built in Heredia, and multiple campaigns to attract new airlines to Costa Rica.
Alan Flores already has an agenda: continue to strengthen the marketing and promotional strategies for the country. By putting more money into marketing Costa Rica as an ideal vacation destination, Flores hopes to bring more tourists into the country next year. “Selling the country is what it’s all about,” Flores added.
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A second goal for Flores and the Costa Rica Tourism Board is to build and promote conference tourism within the country, and this project goes hand in hand with the development of plans for a new conference center, for which land in Heredia has already been purchased. Conference tourism ideally will be more consistent than regular tourism, as it is unaffected by the weather. Rainy season will not prevent people from attending conferences. Recent studies also suggest that tourists who visit for business purposes are more likely to return again with their family members. Also, according to Flores, “A conference attendee will spend more money than the average visitor. Whoever comes to the country on business usually has the benefit of travel expenses being reimbursed by their companies.”
The ICT is also working to strengthen community tourism products in rural areas of the country and assist small business owners with marketing and tax exemptions. An extraordinary number of Costa Rica’s hotels have 20 rooms or less, and the country’s tourism backbone is made of small businesses. “We will connect micro-businesses with the development banking program, so that entrepreneurs have access to bank loans under special conditions in order to finance their new projects or expansions,” Flores added.
It is clear that the Flores’s plans for the future stress the development and strengthening of small businesses, as well as fueling the country’s tourism marketing campaign. With more tourists escaping to Costa Rica each year, along with the many expats choosing to settle or retire on these sandy shores, there has never been a better time to buy, build, or invest in Costa Rica.
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