The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed its deep concern about the excessive cost of the insurance policy required for international travelers entering Costa Rica.
The coverage - which is priced between USD265 and USD965, depending on the age of the passenger and can only be purchased from a single provider - will make the country less attractive as a tourist destination.
"While we understand that this measure is solely aimed at covering the cost of medical treatment in case of falling ill with COVID-19 during a stay in Costa Rica, it will dissuade people from traveling to the country. This will directly affect the recovery of both tourism and air transportation, putting at risk the important contribution of this key sector of the economy, which has already been hard hit by the five-month standstill," said Peter Cerdá, IATA Regional Vice President for the Americas.
The resumption of air services in Costa Rica as of August 1st was made possible by airlines, airports and government implementing the “Take-off” biosafety guidance issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - and the World Health Organization (WHO). Although the industry is ready to restart, States need to create the conditions to stimulate demand. "For this reason, we are asking the authorities to support us in implementing initiatives that allow air operators to generate more traffic and greater demand for their countries," Cerdá said.
IATA also asks the Costa Rican authorities to rethink their COVID-19 testing requirements due to the redundancy created by limiting air transport between Costa Rica and Canada, the EU, and the UK while demanding a mandatory COVID-19 test for each passenger. "Restricting operations to certain countries and at the same time requiring COVID-19 testing as an entry requirement for all passengers will discourage demand for travel and therefore impact tourism and the national economy," Cerdá continues.
According to a study by Oxford Economics, air transport contributed - directly and indirectly - some USD5 billion to the Costa Rican economy before the pandemic, equivalent to nine percent of the country's GDP, and generated some 155,000 direct and indirect jobs. However, IATA estimates that the impact of the pandemic puts at risk 101,545 jobs and USD3.5 billion in economic contribution -three quarters of the pre-COVID-19 amount.
"Historically, Costa Rica has been able to boost its tourism industry largely because of travelers arriving in the country by air. We call on the Government to reconsider their testing and insurance measures and to continue working with the air transport industry, so that it can lend its experience and best practices to make aviation one of the pillars of the country's economic recovery after the pandemic," said Cerdá.
Note: More information on the health pass required to enter Costa Rica is available on the Ministry of Health website.
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