Costa Rica looks to restart its tourism industry with the development of 16 health protocols

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) and representatives of the local private sector have unveiled a list of 16 health protocols for the safe reopening of some of the country’s most popular tourism areas that were affected by the Covid-19 global pandemic.
The protocols relate to tourism companies in the following industries: accommodation; restaurants; aerial and aquatic recreational activities; travel agencies; tour operators; car rentals; meetings and conventions; tourism transport; adventure tourism; and spa and wellness tourism, amongst others. Further industries are expected to be added gradually.
The easy-to-implement protocols establish guidelines on the use of face masks in public and private transport; the cleaning and disinfection of the equipment in tours and sports such as water sport activities; and how to apply social distancing rules when kayaking or white water rafting, for example – two of Costa Rica’s most popular water activities.
Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, María Amalia Revelo Raventós, said: “These protocols are a great step for the country to start getting ready to welcome visitors again. Although the reactivation of the tourism sector will be gradual and linked to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, having these 14 protocols in place will allow business to safely plan, prepare and get ready to reopen.”
Gustavo Alvarado, Director of Tourism Management at the Costa Rica Tourism Board, mentioned: “These protocols are easy to implement as they were designed to generate the lowest economic cost to those companies who have struggled the most during the pandemic.”
The 16 protocols were agreed among by a committee of 68 professionals from the country’s both public and private sectors. In Costa Rica, the public and the private sectors have been deeply engaged in tourism policy design and implementation since the 1980s. Their cooperation frequently takes the form of co-governance, in which an autonomous institution in charge of policy for a particular economic sector is created, with a board of directors comprising representatives from both the public and the private sectors. This way of working has proved to be very successful for the country, as tourism measures are agreed by a majority and no changes are introduced if a change of Government takes place.
The Costa Rica Tourism Board has also been organising regular online trainings and webinars with the country’s tourism partners to keep them up to date on the government’s measures on Covid-19 and to discuss how to implement the health protocols in their businesses.
Costa Rica received 78,562 visitors from the UK in 2019.