The arrival of Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess, which has a capacity of 1950 passengers, to the port of Puntarenas earlier this week signalled the start of the new cruise season in Costa Rica.
Cruising is an important source of visitors to Costa Rica, accounting for 18% of the 2.1 million visitors the country receives annually, with major cruise liners arriving at the ports of Puntarenas on the Pacific Coast and Limon on the Caribbean coast. During the 2009-2010 season a total of 264 cruise liners docked in Costa Rica, bringing a total of 385,363 visitors, a record figure for the past 15 years, and a 5.4% increase on the previous season.
Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, Allan Flores, explained that despite the general decrease in the global cruise industry, Costa Rica maintains a strong position with a stable influx of cruise liners and passengers. “The start of the new cruise season brings us the opportunity to promote our country in this market. We are doing everything possible to ensure that the cruise market in Costa Rica continues to grow and be competitive,” he said.
The Costa Rica Tourist Board also announced that it is working with other Central American countries to identify new opportunities for ports in the region and devise attractive new cruise itineraries taking in the region’s main tourist destinations that would help attract a greater number of visitors.