According to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2015, Costa Rica is now the most expensive destination in Central America. The report, which was released in May, revealed that the country also boasts one of the best values in the region. Ranking 42nd in the world, Costa Rica came out ahead of both Mexico and Panama.
Among the reasons contributing to Costa Rica’s ranking were its natural resources, business environment, and security. Recently, there have been some concerns from residents of Costa Rica regarding the encroachment of neighboring countries on Costa Rica’s tourism industry, most notably Nicaragua. According to the WEF report; however, other countries have a long way to go before they might outrank Costa Rica.
Areas in Need of Improvement
The report also pointed out that while Costa Rica certainly has a number of strengths, there are areas of weakness that should be addressed in the future, including infrastructure and price competitiveness. Currently, Costa Rica is ranked as the most expensive destination in Central America and is only the most expensive of a total of six countries surveyed in the Caribbean and North America. Costa Rica ranked only slightly better in terms of cost as a destination than the United States.
Other areas of concern in Costa Rica include its port and ground infrastructure, both of which were ranked as the second worst in the Caribbean and North America. Costa Rica ranked only slightly ahead of Haiti. Compared to the rest of the country’s competitors in the Central American region, Costa Rica’s airport infrastructure fared quite well, although still falls behind destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, including Barbados, Tobago, and Trinidad.
Costa Rica Performs Well in Tourism Services
Despite the fact that Costa Rica appears to have a way to go in terms of physical infrastructure, the country was demonstrated to be doing quite well in tourism services, ranking fifth best in the local region. Overall, the local region performed quite poorly in regards to promotion of cultural resources. According to the WEF report, many neighboring countries tend to rely too heavily on their wildlife and beaches rather than promoting their cultural heritage. Earlier this year, Vice President Ana Helena Chacón issued an executive decree that will result in promoting the country’s cuisine as a means for attracting foodies to Costa Rica.
Ranking at the top of the 2015 list was Spain, followed by France, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Angola, Guinea, and Chad received the lowest scores.