The government has recently announced their intentions to once again re-open previously closed airways and allow travellers from select areas of the United States to enter the country, provided they are tourists and not conducting any form of business travel. The Costa Rican government is allowing travellers from only a select few regions of the United States, deemed to be less at low risk of another outbreak of the virus.
The states in question which will be allowed are: Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. On the 15th of September, this will also be expanded to include the states of Colorado, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
While Costa Rica has eased on the restrictions for allowing individuals into the country from the United States, this does not mean that it is becoming lax in its surveillance of the virus. It has been slow to reopen the borders and has only done so for specific areas of the United States that appear to be less at risk from the outbreak at present.
It is also still maintaining that those who are seeking to enter the country will be subject to COVID-19 testing from within 72 hours after their arrival. Applicants must test negative on having the disease, whilst also making sure to fill out a health pass form from the Minister of Health. In addition, they are required to have travel insurance that covers medical care to ensure their safety and be able to prove they are from the approved states.
While the choice to bring states like New York forward compared to others like Colorado is curious, it is likely this is being done as a test. New York, while having greater numbers of infection initially, has been on a consistent decrease ever since April whilst Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have all boasted consistently lower numbers.
It is likely that as the Costa Rican government is aware of the lower infection numbers of the other three, that they want to ensure it stays that way whilst they test slightly more populated regions of the United States first that have been experiencing notable decreases in cases. Due to their size these states are capable of boasting a higher influx of potential tourists due to the population of these regions, meaning that they can be a greater boon to the Costa Rican economy far quicker. If the test proves successful, they can open it to regions within safe margins.
Opening Costa Rica to tourist visits will be a benefit in the long term. Back in 2016, theOrganization for Economic Co-operation and Development listed tourism as making up almost 46% of the service exports for the country and 37% of total exports. The trends have changed little since then, and tourism has remained one of the countries key economic pillars even as far back as last year.
The outbreak of the virus has hampered the industry, so reopening the borders to allow tourists to return will be a substantial boon to the economy provided they can avoid another outbreak. While business travel is still restricted, it will only be a matter of time before this will change if the current trends are met with success.
By Joshua Robinson