Two North American airlines will begin offering flights into Liberia and two more will expand their operations beginning in November. The influx of travelers — Costa Rica’s main tourist market — aligns with the beginning of the country’s high season.
“We have various airlines interested in opening new routes from new destinations, in the medium-term,” Rosa Rodriguez, administrative assistant for Airports Worldwide, confirmed in an email . The corporation is a shareholder of Coriport, which manages the Liberia airport.
The U.S. provided 40 percent of international arrivals to Costa Rica in 2017 with 1.2 million visitors. More than 200,000 Canadians and 100,000 Mexicans visited Costa Rica during the same year.
Apple Vacations, an American airline, will commence daily charter flights from Rockford, Illinois to Liberia between January 4, 2019 and April 5, 2019, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) announced in June. These new flights will add 2,340 available seats for travelers jetting from North America.
On the other hand, Aeroméxico, which already operates flights to San Jose, will introduce new twice weekly flights from Mexico City to Liberia between November 10 and April 21, 2019. Each flight will accommodate up to 99 passengers.
Hermes Navarro, chief of Attraction of Investments of the ICT, confirmed that Apple Vacations’s new operation with the airport is thanks to the demand generated by the North American tourist market, whose vacation periods between December and April coincide with Costa Rica’s high season.
“Certain important markets for Costa Rica tend to be considered seasonal since people limit travel mainly because of work reasons,” added Navarro.
“Because of this, charters have become an extremely effective option. They facilitate connections and favorable deals for these travelers, which complements regular options for flights to the country.”
The Canadian company Sunwing Airlines, which currently flies to Liberia, will offer new 189-seat flights between Vancouver and Liberia. The route begins December 23 through March 31, 2019.
Air Canada will increase flights between Toronto and Liberia — currently four times a week, the airline will fly daily starting December 15. The airline’s weekly route from Montreal to Liberia will also increase to three flights per week beginning December 18 through April 2019. The boost in these flights alone means an additional 17,000 seats from Canada to Guanacaste during Costa Rica’s high season.
A total of 15 airlines will now operate during Costa Rica’s upcoming high season. Airports Worldwide expects that some of the airlines expanding their business at Liberia airport will continue after the high season, depending on demand and the airlines’ performance.
Last year Costa Rica received 1,780,550 tourists who arrived by plane, according to the ICT. Half of those travelers spent at least one night in Guanacaste, the only province slightly behind Central Valley, which leads with 52.3 percent of visitors who stay one night or more.
The beach: big draw for tourists
Robin Polk from Texas, U.S., has vacationed in the region since 2012. She flies into Liberia with her preferred airline, Southwest Airlines, whose flights into Guanacaste she finds affordable.
“We like the smaller airport, very friendly people,” Polk told The Voice. Her family travels to Garza multiple times a year for fishing.
Like Polk, the majority of tourists journey to Costa Rica for the beach, followed by ecotourism, the ICT reported. The average tourist stays in Costa Rica for 12 days, spending $1,561.40 during their trip.
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