When people think about Costa Rica, they imagine a paradise, palm trees, monkeys, drinks, beaches, etc. There are these things, but you can find much more. Costa Rica is one of the most ecologically minded countries in the world. The 25% of their lands are protected by the government. Further, they don’t have an army since 1949 which it is very weird in this current world. It is the oldest democracy in Central America, that’s why it is considerate one of the most peaceful countries in the world. It is also curious that the President since 2010 is a woman, Laura Chinchilla. It is not strange since feminism there is better stronger, but it is not frequent in Latin America.
If we want to understand why Costa Rica has become a touristic paradise for North Americans, we need to talk about the history. In 1899 United Fruit Company, American multinational brand, commercialized tropical fruits cultivated in Latin America. It became the first political and economic force in many countries, influencing their governments keeping the operations to reach the highest profit margin. The diplomatic relationships between U.S and Costa Rica began in the mid-end XIX century. EEUU is the first commercial socio of Costa Rica, being the fate of the most importers. Since then, they had any kind of relation: political, economic, even social and cultural. For example, as I said Costa Rica didn’t have an army since 1949, but they were part of military coalitions led by the USA as the occupation of the Dominican Republic or the Iraq War in 2003.
Regarding the tourist area, Americans are the third immigrant collective, after Nicaraguans and Colombians. Half of the Americans who live in Costa Rica are younger than 29 years old. So, we can realize how young people like this country. Further, there are many populations which is mixed because of the early relations between both countries. There are many Ticos, as people called from Costa Rica, who are sons of Americans. Arodys Robles, director of the Centro American Center of the University, says: ¨When migration has a long tradition and efficient communication routes, it causes ways to keep the entailment from sending remittances¨. Further, Costa Rica gets 100 million dollars in economic cooperation from the USAID, U.S Government Agency.
As we can see, it makes sense why many Americans visit Costa Rica every year, and others decide to stay for a while or for the long term. What about Europeans? We live in a global world, people from everywhere go everywhere. Europe is an open continent which is used to see many backpackers around the world. Are they in Costa Rica as well? Currently, in 2017, the arrival of European tourist increases 6%. France is the first one on the list with 40.385 tourists after it comes United Kingdom (39.915), Germany (37.441), Spain (27957) and Switzerland (11.817). Furthermore, the airplane companies start to offer direct flights to Costa Rica as for example Air France, Thomson Airways, British Airways, Edelweiss, and Condor. Other companies will start working soon such as KLM from Amsterdam and Luthansa from Frankfurt.
¨Historically we have depended on the U.S as a market in the attraction of airlines, but the story has changed because it is essential that Costa Rica reinforces European tourism, a market with enormous potential ¨, explains Mauricio Ventura, Minister of tourist. Costa Rica is still a ¨American colony¨. In some touristic areas like Manuel Antonio or Jacó more than 50% of the touristic business, as Hotels and restaurants, are Americans properties. However, it seems Europeans are being attracted by the wild paradisiacal tourist. Many of them are already planned to come this year and the next one.