by Michael J. Shapiro | April 16, 2018
The US$35 million Costa Rica Convention Center has opened in the country's capital of San José, fulfilling the most significant goal in the Costa Rica Tourism Board's strategy to more aggressively compete in the meetings sector. The long-awaited facility covers nearly 168,000 square feet, with the capacity to host as many as 4,600 attendees in one session. It is located approximately midway between Juan Santamaría International Airport and downtown San José.
"The opening of the Costa Rica Convention Center is the realization of a dream held by the tourism sector for a long time," said Alvaro Arguedas, president of the Costa Rica Convention Bureau. "It is a great achievement that has been made possible through cooperation between the public and private sectors of our country."
 
While the Costa Rica Tourism Board has long focused on the country's vacation market, the more recently added Meeting Tourism Division, along with the Costa Rica Meeting Tourism Ambassador Program, have already made great strides in raising the country's profile for groups, according to the agency. Costa Rica has climbed 10 positions in the global meetings-tourism ranking by the International Congress and Convention Association, most recently nabbing 53rd place, just behind neighboring Panama.
 
The country, long known as a popular eco-tourism destination, incorporated sustainable design elements into the new convention center. Reflective roofs, rainwater re-use, water-conserving taps, high-tech air-conditioning systems, solar panels, interior LED lighting and the use of native trees both indoors and out are among the the venue's many green characteristics.
 
Approximately 80 international conventions already are confirmed for the facility through 2021, expected to generate about US$250 million in economic impact.