For years, it seemed it was mostly tourists from the United States and Canada enjoying the beauty and wonder of Costa Rica. Certainly, flying to Costa Rica from North America was getting ever easier.
Flights opened up from various cities including hubs like Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, and others. Airlines such as Delta, United, WestJet, Southwest, jetBlue, American and more all come to Costa Rica.
More Europeans are flying to Costa Rica
While the influx of North Americans hasn’t tapered down, it seems that a bunch of new airline routes from European capitals is giving those citizens a great new opportunity to check out Costa Rica’s rainforests and beaches.
Data gathered by the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration (DGME) and analyzed by the Costa Rica Tourism Bureau (ICT) showed a steady growth in the number of European arrivals to Costa Rica. In the first half of 2017, the information showed a six percent increase by all routes into Costa Rica.
How is this happening?
Mauricio Ventura, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism, will tell you it’s all the promotion the tourism bureau has been doing in Europe including “Costa Rica. My Choice, Naturally”, a partnership established between the ICT with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), CNN International, and CNN Task, a task force of experts in brands and international tourism.
And he’s right. All that promotional work has resulted in an increase in the number of direct flights from Europe.
As a matter of fact, there have been eight new European airlines flying to Costa Rica, with seven coming in the past two years.
These airlines are Iberia from Spain, British Airways and Thomson from the United Kingdom, Condor and Lufthansa from Germany, Air France from France, Edelweiss from Switzerland, and KLM from the Netherlands.
“For the first time, we have a public relations agency in each of our four major issuing markets: France, Spain, Germany and United Kingdom.” Mauricio Ventura, Costa Rica Minister of Tourism
“The reinforcement in the European market demanded the realization of new actions,” explains Ventura.
“For the first time, we have a public relations agency in each of our four major issuing markets: France, Spain, Germany and United Kingdom. We are carrying out studies of better prospects in these markets, transforming our presence at international fairs, reinforcing cooperative campaigns and strengthening our strategy to attract airline companies.”
More airlines than ever are flying to Costa Rica
Starting at the end of last month, KLM offers two direct flights to and from San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport. This now connects Amsterdam to Costa Rica during Europe’s winter season from November to March. The flights operate on Tuesdays and Fridays from San Jose to the Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport.
These new Amsterdam flights make a total of five weekly offerings from KLM to and from Costa Rica to Europe. Three of these are to Paris—announced in April 2017 and which began October 28, 2017.
These flights, operated by Air France, travel between San Jose and Paris on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Lufthansa plans to enter the Costa Rica market on March 29, 2018, when it launches a non-stop flight every Thursday and Saturday from Frankfurt to San Jose. Currently, tourists can travel from Frankfurt to San Jose with a stop in Panama, then switch to a Copa Airlines flight from that country to Costa Rica.
Easier connectivity throughout Europe
Also, all these airlines allow more routes to other cities throughout Europe. A traveler flying to Costa Rica only needs to connect to another flight once they arrive in the Netherlands, France or Germany.
Vice President of Sales for the Americas of the Lufthansa Group, Tamur Goudarzi-Pour, said that “Beyond tourism, the Lufthansa Group offers a world of travel opportunities for both leisure and business travelers.”
“From our Frankfurt center, we offer more than 200 destinations worldwide, connecting Costa Rica and its inhabitants to financial capitals across the European continent up to Asia.”
On the whole, Ventura is happy with all these new opportunities made available to Costa Rica from Europe.
“Certainly, this diversification does not imply the displacement of the United States, our natural market and the major issuer of tourists,” he says. “On the contrary, we continue to strengthen the different actions there.”
“Now, however, we know that we have the supply, quality and air connections to diversify the markets and shorten the distances between destinations of great potential for Costa Rica that were not being used, as is the case of Europe.”
When not planning trips for her clients, Ellen Zoe Golden is either surfing, doing yoga, running, or binge-watching The Walking Dead, Oz, Arrested Development, and Scandal. She lives in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.