Published Tuesday, April 6, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
In an activity held this Monday at the Pez Vela Marina in Quepos Beach, Puntarenas Province, President Carlos Alvarado signed Law No.9977 entitled "Promotion of Tourist Marinas and Coastal Development."
According to the government, the new law improves the conditions in which marinas are operating, thereby improving the country's conditions to attract nautical tourism.
These are precisely the kinds of innovative decisions a country must make in a post-pandemic world, said Jeffrey Duchesneau, General Manager of Marina Pez Vela and president of the Costa Rican Association of Marinas.
“The reform to the Law of Marinas and Berths, together with the improvement of the country's tourism sector and the world-class marinas in the Pacific Coast, make Costa Rica the new ideal destination for luxury yacht rental; we are opening a world of options to tourists of another category," Duchesneau said. "It is a scenario where everyone is winning: the tourists, the coastal communities and the country as well."
The law allows vessels with a foreign flag and their crew to conduct business in the maritime sea zone of the country, such as recreation, tourism and hiring of Costa Rican captains and crew.
The law also allows the companies that manage the marinas under the legal figure of concession, to use the marina as collateral to obtain loans.
“This reform introduces new characteristics for marina's managers and foreign vessels which dock in their ports. Thereby improving the dynamics of nautical tourism in Costa Rica, a segment that attracts visitors with high income and it has a huge impact on the creation of jobs in the coastal communities,'' President Alvarado said.
The country will become an example for the world, according to Alvarado. He said: "highlighting the values that we promote as a decarbonized country, which has successfully managed the covid-19 pandemic and is committed to sustainable tourism."
As the conditions improve for how marinas operate, it is expected to nautical tourism. This branch of tourism is consistent with the sustainable development model, closely related to culture and tourism, sport and key to raising the economy of the coastal communities, Gustavo J. Segura, Minister of Tourism said.
According to the ministry, Costa Rica is competing with high-quality destinations such as Europe and the Caribbean to attract nautical tourism.
Currently, the government allows the entry of tourists by sea on yachts and sailboats through the Bahía Golfito, Los Sueños, Pez Vela, Banana Bay and Papagayo marinas.
According to the statistics of the ministry, together these marinas add up to 800 berths and serve dozens of national and foreign vessels per month, most of which arrive from the United States.
Before the pandemic, 550 boat arrivals were registered per month, of these 350 were foreign-flagged. The marinas have approximately 2,500 employees, added the ministry.
In January, the government created Presidential Decree No.42817, which allows yacht and sailboat crews to enter the country by sea without having to meet the necessary visa requirements.
According to the government, the goal of the decree is to make it easier for visitors to enter the country.
The General Directorate of Migration will also grant an entry permit to the country, following the guidelines of the visitor's nationality to make the immigration process easier.
The changes in the immigration regulations for the crew do not exempt visitors from complying with the sanitary guidelines to avoid contagion of covid-19.
Crew members who enter by sea, do not need to show proof of a negative covid-19 test, but they must meet the following requirements:
• Fill out the "Health Pass" webform.
• Tourists must also have a valid passport and proof of intent to exit Costa Rica within 90 days.
• Provide proof of a valid Traveler's Insurance, not expiring during the time of stay in the country. This can be purchased in the country of departure or Costa Rica.
Tourists must show proof by requesting a certificate issued in English or Spanish from their insurance provider that guarantees coverage for medical expenses in cases of covid-19 infection while in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000. And minimum coverage of $2,000 for accommodation expenses extended, in case of being infected with covid-19.
The insurance document, where these requirements are met, must also be uploaded on the electronic epidemiological online Health Pass.
Tourists should double-check the entry requirements by contacting their local Costa Rica embassy or consular representation before the trip.
How could the government attract more tourism to the coastal areas? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to email@example.com