COSTA RICA TRAVEL AND TOURISM.
Costa Rica's fast growing trade is tourism. Costa Rica pioneered ecotourism (the practice of touring natural habitats in a manner that minimizes ecological impact). Because of its great biodiversity the country enjoys a natural advantage in this sort of activity with the increasing demand for vacation packages, retreats, and rentals. The number of ecotourists visiting Costa Rica has increased steadily at an average rate of 15 percent per year since 1992.
During 2000 over 1.3 million people visited the country, and the Costa Rican tourist board estimates that number increased by over 20 percent in 2006. The Ticas are loving it, over U.S. $one billion have flowed into the ecomony just in the year 2006. Three years prior it was around US $800 million. In 2001 there were over 13,400 rooms available for tourists and that has doubled in 2004. This amount was over twice the revenue generated by coffee and 1.7 times that of banana exports.
The government promotes the development of tourism through the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), or tourist board, which prepares a yearly development plan. ICT runs specialized educational facilities to train workers in hotel management and other tourism-related activities making Costa Rica travel agents having some of the best vacation packages.