LAiming to identify the perception of Costa Rica as a tourist destination of the international buyers participating in Costa Rica’s Travel Mart EXPOTUR-2008, the University of Tourism conducted a study of customer destination satisfaction. The same study was conducted 15 years ago in Costa Rica’s Travel Mart EXPOTUR-1993. The comparison between both studies revealed satisfactory results as to the assessment of the national tourist product by customers.
The information obtained indicates that nature ranks highest in customer satisfaction, then tour operators, hotels in the third place and, lastly, restaurants. Human talent operating in the national tourist industry has clearly affected the positive results of the aforementioned studies. The study also revealed that urban landscape, safety, museums, airports and roads did not improve in 15 years. Also, five governments could not significantly affect the evaluation of sustainable tourism policies and the Costa Rican tourist industry. The score for nature conservation was significant since it increased from 6,77 to 8,97.
However, the rating for roads, airports, safety and museums did not reach 7. The backwardness seen in the ratings highlights the lack of well-defined public policies that would result in long-term improvement. Costa Ricans feel that neighboring countries have made a more relevant effort in improving roads, ports and airports in spite of the recent effort by the Ministry of Transportation with respect to the San Jose/Caldera road. Airports have been affected by their operators’ difficulties in managing them and by regulations that hold back growth in tourism at the regional and national levels.
As a result, possibilities for growth and competition are limited. Our legal system must be brought in line with the demands of the 21st century. Safety is a never-ending story that leads to poverty, drug addiction and prostitution. Although the Municipality of San Jose has worked on a new image for our urban landscape, it is not enough. There are great opportunities for urban development.
Lic. Ramón Madrigal León.