Friday,  August 7, 2020  10:35 pm

Costa Rica heads north for annual roadshow

Costa Rica heads north for annual roadshow
From left: Ivonne Duarte, executive director, Grupo Proimagen; Reggie Kieda, MKTG Inc; Michel Aranda, tour guide, Grupo Proimagen.
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

With interest in Costa Rica travel surging in recent years, it’ll be sometime before the destination cools down.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Luxury tented camping experience coming to Costa Rica

“We don’t have a low season – we have a high season all year round!” said Ivonne Duarte, executive director, Grupo Proimagen, which promotes travel to Costa Rica from its various inbound markets.

The organization was on the road in Canada this month, chatting with Canadian travel agents in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal during its annual pilgrimage to meet with the trade. With Canada representing Costa Rica’s third-largest inbound market (behind the U.S. and Mexico), the roadshow is an important opportunity for the destination, Duarte said, adding that beach escapes, soft adventure (volcano hikes and ziplining remain perennial favourites among travellers), weddings and wellness continue to represent the majority of agent inquiries, along with a growing interest in gastronomy.

While it’s no surprise that the majority of Canadian travellers are visiting Costa Rica in the winter months, Canadians are also among those aforementioned year-round visitors, Duarte told PAX.

“Most of our numbers are in winter – but we have summer travellers as well from Canada,” she said.

Managed growth

As interest in the destination grows, Costa Rica has gradually attracted an increasing number of resort properties, such as Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica.

However, this increase hasn’t translated into Costa Rica’s beaches being stacked with all-inclusive developments and, while Duarte acknowledged the Canadian appetite for all-inclusive stays, she added that visitors to Costa Rica will find a different type of Caribbean escape, with hotel product ranging from two- to five-star properties.

“Canadians like all-inclusives and although we don’t have them, we have very nice properties regardless,” she said.

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