Costa Rica working to attract Gulf tourists, says minister

Dubai's Emirates airline and New York-based JetBlue are expanding a codeshare agreement that will include the Costa Rican cities of San Jose and Liberia
Costa Rica working to attract Gulf tourists, says minister
In September, Emirates airline and New York-based JetBlue announced that they were expanding a codeshare agreement that will include the Costa Rican capital of San Jose and Liberia, the capital of the country’s Guanacaste province.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Sun 17 Feb 2019 09:53 AM

The government of Costa Rica working to boost the number of incoming tourists from the UAE and the greater GCC, according to Costa Rican Minister of Planning Pilar Garrido.

Speaking to Arabian Business on the sidelines of the opening of a new Costa Rican trade promotion office inside the offices of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Garrido said that “Costa Rica is looking for opportunities” in the GCC.

“This part of the world is key at this time,” she said. “The economies are very strong and there is lots of capital that their domestic markets cannot absorb.

“The message is that we always want to grow our tourism, especially our eco and sustainable tourism,” she added.

In September, Emirates airline and New York-based JetBlue announced that they were expanding a codeshare agreement that will include the Costa Rican capital of San Jose and Liberia, the capital of the country’s Guanacaste province.

Direct flights

At the moment, there are no direct flights between the UAE and Central America. In 2016 Emirates shelved plans for a non-stop flight between Dubai and Panama, which at 17 hours and 35 minutes westbound was billed as the world’s longest flight.

Garrido said she still hoped that one day a direct flight to Central America would be possible.

“It’s my understanding that there are technical issues related to the flight and that’s why there needs to be a stop-over,” Garrido said. “But science is moving so fast that nothing is impossible in this world. Maybe next time I’m here will be to inaugurate a flight.”

Responding to a query from Arabian Business, an Emirates spokesperson said that “we do not have any plans to announce at the moment, but we firmly believe in the potential of Central America and remain keen to link the Emirates network to the region in the future.”

According to Garrido, the total trade relationship between the UAE and Costa Rica grew 15.1 percent in 2018, compared to 7.6 percent in 2017.

“Our vision…is to see how we can build [this relationship] together, how to expand our commerce, learn from one another, grow together and make our relationship an example for the rest of the world,” she said in a speech at the opening of the trade promotion office.

“Our country is small, but we are rich in diversity and in nature, and more importantly, we are rich in people,” she added. “The same happens here in the emirates. The most important thing is that are talent and our people can work together to help each other be better.”

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