Central American Tourism Trends

Central America: More Tourists and New Historical Discoveries

Costa Rica booth at ITB Berlin
Central America: More Tourists and New Historical Discoveries

ITB Berlin

The seven small Central American countries are enjoying significantly more tourists and foreign exchange revenue. Costa Rica continues to be the region's shining example. And in Guatemala, researchers have discovered a new ancient Mayan road network. The Central America Tourism Agency (CATA) announced the latest facts at ITB Berlin. 

Approximately 12.49 million tourists from around the world visited Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama between September 2015 and September 2016. That is 5.8 per cent more than in the same period the previous year. The guests brought the "seven dwarfs" a total of 14.6 billion dollars in foreign exchange revenue, an increase of 10.38 per cent.

Costa Rica, a world leader in eco-tourism and sustainability, reported a record number of visitors once again: according to CATA, they had over 2.925 million guests in 2016, an increase of about 10 per cent. "Costa Rica recorded 67,939 arrivals from Germany alone and with that, a growth of 2.2 per cent," the organisation reported.

Carolina Briones, general secretary of CATA, stressed: "The number of visitors has been steadily increasing for each country in the region since 2011." Central America is continuing on course for success. Briones: "We also expect an increase between seven and eight per cent in 2017."

An ancient Mayan road network could become a new tourist attraction in the future. The Mirador Basin lies in Petén in Northern Guatemala. It is part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, the largest intact area of rainforest in Central America.  Here, interdisciplinary researchers from the Mirador Basin Project discovered the Mayan world's first compact road network at the end of 2016. It encompasses 17 streets, a total length of 240 km, which were probably used for transporting goods. The overland routes would have connected the ancient Mayan metropolis El Mirador with the surrounding area.

The Central America Tourism Agency has marketed the seven Central American countries internationally as a multi-destination for the past fourteen years. Europe is one of the most important source markets. Spain leads the list of visitors, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom.

Approximately 120 exhibitors from the seven countries are in Berlin advertising historical Mayan palaces, colonial cities, partially active volcanoes, palm beaches on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, lush exotic flora and fauna in old-growth forests, and many nature reserves.



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