Direct flights between Europe and Costa Rica’s capital present new business opportunities

Whether you fly for tourism or for business the new direct flights from Europe have changed the landscape of travelling to Costa Rica. In just two years the country went from one to eight European airlines flying directly to San José, Costa Rica’s capital.

Seven of the eight companies have started flying to Costa Rica in the last two years (Iberia from Spain, British Airways and Thomson Airways from the UK, Condor from Germany, Air France from France, Edelweiss from Switzerland, KLM from the Netherlands and Lufthansa from Germany).

Direct flights used between Costa Rica and Europe fly mostly from mains cities in the UK, Spain, France and Germany, and less so from Holland.

KLM flies twice a week between Amsterdam and San Jose throughout the European winter season. There are enormous amount of benefits generated from the arrival of a new flight, not only for tourism, but for various economic sectors in communities that are linked to tourism, as well as exporters and productive sectors linked to foreign trade. The Netherlands is one of the main countries exporting to Costa Rica.

Air France now has permanent flights between France and Costa Rica, after a trial period. Pia Lackman, general manager of Air France / KLM for Central America and Panama, states that "... these decisions have been made thanks to the growing demand of the market. Starting April 1st, 2018, we will maintain two of Air France's flights, so that Costa Rica will be permanently connected to France”.

The arrival of European tourists is continuously growing. Between January and June 2017, 219 thousand tourists came into the country from Europe, 6% more than the figure recorded in the first half of last year. During the first half of the year, Europe showed steady growth in international arrivals (8.4% by air and a 6% increase for all routes to the country), according to data provided by the Directorate General of Migration and Aliens and analysed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.

France was the leading country for international arrivals by air, with a total of 35,759 arrivals, followed by the United Kingdom with 35,759 and Germany with 27,856 as shown in the following table:

 

I semester 2016

I semester 2017

Abs. Var

Var. %

Germany

37.046

37.441

395

1,1%

Spain

26.861

27.957

1.096

4,1%

France

34.940

40.385

5.445

15,6%

UK

35.559

39.915

4.356

12,3%

Switzerland

11.144

11.817

673

6%

All Europe

219.671

232.867

13.196

6%

Grand Total

1.588.896

1.634.137

45.241

2,8%


Regarding trade, the European Union is the third largest market for Costa Rican exports (18 %). As for Costa Rica's imports, the European market currently ranks third (8.2 %), after North America (52.1 %) and Asia (20.7 %), and before Central America (7.3 %) and South America (6.6 %). The main export products from the European Union include medicines, antiserums, cars and generators.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Costa Rica is continuously increasing. For example, light manufacturing (45 %), agriculture (25 %, mainly bananas and coffee) and other investments (railroad lines, tobacco, telecommunications, airlines, government bonds and real estate).

In 2014, FDI originating from the EU was approximately 18.5 % of the total FDI for the country. Spain was the main origin of FDI from the EU (54 %), followed by Italy (20 %) and Germany (16 %).

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