Costa Rica



Tourism makes a significant contribution to the economy of Costa Rica. In 2016, tourism directly contributed to 5.0% of GDP, and new Tourism Satellite Account estimate that contribution of tourism to GDP rises to 8.2% when indirect effects are considered. In 2018, tourism directly employed 157 000 people, corresponding to 6.6% of total employment. Tourism is the most important source of foreign exchange in the country, contributing CRC 2.2 trillion in 2018, a rise of 5.0% since 2016. 

Year on year growth in international tourist arrivals has been on average 7.4% since 1990. Costa Rica is a year-round and long-stay destination. In 2018, there were 3.0 million inbound arrivals, up 1.9% over 2017, more than 2.3 million of which arrived by air. The average length of stay is 11.7 nights, a figure which has steadily risen over time. By far, the largest source market for overseas visitors in 2018 was the United States with 1.3 million tourists (41.9% of total share), followed by Central America at 691 000 (22.9%), Europe (15.9%), and South America (6.3%). There is a target to grow international arrivals by 7.5% per annum toward 2021.