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ICT AIMS TO ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN GUANACASTE

Conserving natural resources and achieving a sustainable tourism development in Guanacaste that contemplates quality standards, efficiency and a fair distribution of wealth is the objective that the Costa Rica Tourist Board (ICT) is trying to achieve.

During a meeting this morning with the main municipal leaders and deputies of Guanacaste province, the Minister of Tourism, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, requested an adequate plan to welcome the growing tourist trend that the region has been experiencing, considering that only in the last month the increase of construction permits climbed an astounding 108%, a large quantity of these permits being real estate tourism projects.

“Our goal is to promote sustainable tourism in Guanacaste so that the majority of residents in this province can adhere to the development and growth the region is experiencing. The province has grown successfully and this should be maintained along with quality standards, efficiency and a fair distribution of wealth,” stated Carlos Ricardo Benavides, Minister of Tourism.

To accomplish this objective the Costa Rica Tourist Board (ICT) has developed specific plans to be carried out in compliance with the stipulations of the National Plan of Sustainable Tourism Development. The official plan will regulate the use of the land according to the local conditions and necessities of the northern and southern regions of the province. The plan for this year is oriented towards three regions: San Miguel Coyote, Hermosa Beach Blue Bay and Avellanas-Junquillal.

Seeking the integration of the Guanacaste residents into the benefits of tourism, human resources training plans have been established for them. This also includes making locals environmentally aware as well as involving municipalities, organizations, and regional chambers of tourism to create strategic plans to promote Guanacaste as a tourist destination.

With regard to infrastructure, Benavides stated that actions are being developed to improve the roads with resources coming from the Papagayo Tourist Funds for the highway to Troncos- Chorotega Beach as well as the highway to Arenilla Beach and the bridge over the Panama Gorge.

A strategic alliance has been established with the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation concerning the installation tourist signs, which implies an investment of 300 million colons. These signs will guide tourists to the most visited areas, among them Guanacaste and the Barranca-Peñas Blancas route, including the National Parks that can be found along the way.

At the same time, the ICT is investing 25 million colons in the installation of signs at the beaches of Naranjo, Conchal, Flamingo, Grande, Tamarindo, Samara, Carrillo, and in the area of Arenal Lake. All signs contain relevant information such as the sea tides and local conditions in those areas.

Regarding safety issues, in conjunction with the Minister of Public Safety, a special police force has been created for tourists by the Costa Rica Tourist Board, who donated resources for training purposes in addition to 260 million colons for the construction and establishment of two police stations in Guanacaste.

Concerning new airlines, the arrival of a new direct flight between London and Liberia has been confirmed by the company First Choice Airways, beginning in May, 2007. This will represent an increase in the seat capacity of 312 passengers per trip.

Moreover, another charter flight from Toronto, Canada will arrive to Liberia operated by the company Sunwing Vacations, offering flights once a week with an increase, up to 2008, of 4200 additional passengers. Last month the Daniel Oduber Airport reported an increase of 24% after transporting 22,230 passengers.

GUANACASTE STATISTICS
Northern Sector
5,469 Rooms
261 Hotels
26% 0 Stars
41% from 1 to 3 Stars
33% from 4 to 5 Stars
Southern Sector
1,335 Rooms
121 Hotels
53% 0 Stars
43% from 1 to 3 Stars
4% from 4 to 5 Stars

ICT Costa Rica Tourism Board (January 23., 2007) San Jose, Costa Rica