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Protur criticizes ICT

October 19, 2012

Protur (Asociacion Para La Proteccion del Turismo De Costa Rica) is an organization for the protection of tourism in Costa Rica that represents small and medium sized tourism enterprises and criticizes the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), the National Tourism Institute.
Representatives of Protur for example complain about the calculation of the number of tourists coming to Costa Rica in recent years.
These numbers do not differentiate between those entering for touristic reasons and spending money on hotels and activities in the country and those who visit their families or come to work like many Nicaraguans.
For instance, calculated Protur about 1.1 million tourists in 2011, which was about a 1 million less than the 2.1 million the ICT claimed.
An example given was that a truck driver entered Costa Rica in the course of one year 179 times therefor has been listed 179 times as a tourist.
This false information harms the entire tourism industry, because due to the numbers inaccurate forecasts are made.
The ICT published data which demonstrate that the hotel occupancy amounted to about 64%. Procur calculated also for the year 2011 a capacity utilization of only 31%.
These calculations, of course, result into misjudgment of the situation.
Procur furthermore complains that the work of the ICT pity small and medium sized enterprises. In response the ICT emphasizes that they especially encourage smaller companies through targeted projects. Lots of different projects have been initiated, for example for local artists.
Especially the last major campaign of the ICT is blistered. The advertising campaign Costa Rica┬┤s Million Dollar Gift included a big campaign featuring a talking sloth and furthermore awarding free holiday packages to Costa Rica. The campaign aimed to raise general interest in the country. It should also facilitate the exchange through social platforms and thus make Costa Rica a potential tourist destination. Travel enthusiasts should be enticed to visit the country repeatedly. The campaign with a great Facebook presence had been developed by an American company, but the whole project would have been significantly cheaper if given to a local company; for the campaign about $ 500,000 of public money were used.
Due to this negative assessment Protur calls to establish a commission to monitor the activities of the ICT.
The ICT is reproached to only have an interest in gaining more power over tourism. The aim, according to Protur employees is to get authority and not a general improvement of tourism in any way. Consequently, the Institute’s work only does harm.
On 5 July this year a complaint against the ICT was filed by Protur, which amounts to a sum of 80 million dollars.
In public and on television heated discussions of the topic came up again, it was asked, who actually is responsible for the master zoning plan (plan regulador de las playas) on the coasts of Costa Rica that have not been completed for decades. The ICT, the Municipalidad or somebody else?

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