by Michael J. Shapiro | August 03, 2018
Costa Rica's new minister of tourism, Maria Amalia Revelo, laid out her plans to keep Costa Rica atop Central America's tourism destinations and increase MICE business. In part, she's going to ensure the country's suppliers remain aligned with the national push for sustainable tourism.
 
"It is my belief that…Costa Rica is on a great path to attract more tourists and achieve environmental sustainability," said Revelo. She will encourage more companies in the industry to obtain a sustainable tourism certification, she said. The certification, known by its Spanish acronym as CST, is already possessed by 391 suppliers - hotels, tour operators, car rental companies, marinas and restaurants among them.
 
Given the recent debut of the Costa Rica Convention Center in the capital of San José, Revelo is specifically turning her attention to North America to bring in more conferences and conventions, in addition to the large number of tourists that typically visit.
 
"The North American market remains the main generator of tourists to the country," she said, "with nearly 1.3 million annual visitors and a prospect market potential estimate of more than 20 million visitors." To attract large gatherings, the first step will be to increase air capacity.
 
"I will place special emphasis on the United States," she added, "as it is very important that we strengthen the relationship with the airlines that come from that region. Additional routes will strengthen the air operations of such an important market and open new opportunities at truly competitive prices."
 
Revelo's plans also include promoting new destinations within the country, as well as a focus on local culture and gastronomy to reflect current travel trends. She also promises more collaboration between the public and private sectors, with an eye towards promoting small and medium businesses.
 
Revelo has more than 40 years of experience in the airline, tourism and hospitality industries, and is a former deputy general manager and director of marketing of the Costa Rica Tourism Board.