The Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), located in Guanacaste, recorded the highest number of tourists in its history during the month of January this year.
Data from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (Costa Rica’s immigration service) reports that in the first month of 2011 there were 31,637 foreign visitors, this represents a 28.2% increase over the same period of 2010 when there were 24,677 foreign visitors.
The spike in visitors this January broke the previous record from March 2008 of 29,206 arrivals. Most of these visitors were from the United States(17,278), followed by Canada (11,013) and England (1211).
The number of commercial flights has also increased this year in Liberia.
Data from the Civil Aviation Technical Council (CETAC) confirms that in January there were 42 flights a week, 6 more than in 2010 representing a growth of 14 percent. February is similar with 53 flights a week, 13 more than the same period last year, meaning 25 percent more.
The Ministro de Turismo (Tourism minister), Carlos Ricardo Benavides, welcomed the news and added that “This is the result of a good strategy to attract international airlines to the Daniel Oduber International airport and first class hotels and unique boutique hotels that the area of Guanacaste offers.”
During 2010, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rica Tourism Board – announced new direct flights to Liberia, a product of alliances with international airlines and wholesalers, including: TUI (from Düsseldorf, Germany), Apple Vacations (Chicago), First Choice ( London), Air Canada (Montreal) and Taca (El Salvador).
“This movement at the second most important airport in the country encourages us to think that 2011 is shaping up to be a good year for tourism,” said Minister Benavides.
Previously known as Tomás Guardia Airport, the now Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste began operations in 1995 . The first commercial flight from abroad was from Delta Airlines in January 2002, and then it was followed by American Airlines and Continental Airlines, among others.
The ICT, created in 1955, is an autonomous institution of the State, responsible for regulating the tourism activity in Costa Rica and promoting Costa Rica’s tourism attractions and destinations both at a national and international level. The Costa Rica Tourism Board creates tourism norms, regulations, incentives and grants the tourist declaratory for Costa Rica’s hotels, travel agencies, rental cars and other tourism organization and service provider.