According to the Costa Rica Tourist Board (ICT), visitor arrivals to Costa Rica in 2015 hit a historical peak of more than 2.6 million (2,6,665,000). This represents a very healthy increase of 5.5% over 2014.
Arrivals by plane counted for a total of 1,858,965, an 8% increase compared to the year before. The San Jose International Airport (Juan Santamaría) demonstrated a growth of visitor traffic of 6.7%. The Liberia International Airport (Daniel Oduber) - gateway to the famous North Pacific beaches like Tamarindo and Flamingo - increased 12.6%.
Minister of Tourism, Mauricio Ventura, stated strong that tourism growth indicates its importance as an engine for developmentm explaining that:
"Together with the important news that the tourist economy grew three times more than the rate of the national economy, 2015 was an exceptional year for tourism. The sum of positive events that benefited both the sector and the country included an increase in the number of flights arriving in Costa Rica and the fact of surpassing one million American visitors through all ports; this highlights the success of promotion and marketing work done towards this end. There was also important progress related to the National Congress and Conventions, among other achievements. Costa Rica has marked a milestone in tourism history, given that the figures of 2015 beat all statistical records of the ICT."
Interest in Costa Rica as a destination continues to expand in primary markets which resulted in 1 million American visitors and 400,000 European visitors in 2015. One of the main reasons for the growth were the many new flights, among them the British Airways non-stop flight from London to San José.
British Airways chose Costa Rica as its first destination in Central America, and is the first non-stop flight in history from the United Kingdom. The attraction of new airlines totaled nine new routes from priority markets to Costa Rica. Six airlines increased their flight frequencies, which is great news for Costa Rica's tourism and real estate industries.
Tourism and its sector authorities project that visitors´ average stay was more than 13 nights, and the average expense for this term was higher than US$1,400.
According to ICT, Costa Rica registers one of the longest stays in the world. “In the tourism sector we must keep on working together so that the industry continues making progress and generating benefits for the country in general and for almost 600,000 people in particular that directly or indirectly work in the field.