Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rural tourism becomes more and more attractive

San Jose, Costa Rica (ICT) - Additionally to the beaches, the volcanoes and the mountains, the tourists like to take a ride on the street, learning how to prepare traditional dishes, how to recollect coffee or to sow yuca and other crops.

In the year 2004 the number of visitants which spent their vacation living with a family on the country, increased by 15%. The visitants worked as volunteers in environmental projects and spent their vacations on a “finca” (farm) where they helped milking animals and recollecting coffee.

This form of tourism is called rural tourism. It gives the visitants the opportunity to get acquainted with life on the country, beside farmers.

The tourism minister Rodrigo Castro (pictured right) pointed out that 1,700 families depend directly on this type of tourism. Furthermore he emphasized, that 25 foreign tour operators (in the United States, in Europe and in Canada) offer this type of vacation as a part of a touristic package.

Many firms and institutions offer accommodations for about 10 persons or accommodate the visitors in the homes of families. In case the visitors live with the family, the family gets 70% of the revenue. The rest accrues to the community.

It is reckoned that this type of tourism is creating more than 1000 permanent and 700 temporary jobs. 40% of the visitors are from Europe, 35% from Costa Rica, 20% from the United States and 5% from Canada and other countries. The visitor, who is attracted by this type of vacation, has a average duration of 7 to 17 overnight stays.

Generally the tourist who chooses those vacations is interested in personal contacts and in the local culture. For this reason he want to get to know the daily life of the locals. He is sensitized to the sustainment of the nature and wants to learn about birds, agriculture and stock farming. Usually he has a high educational level and wants to travel to barely visited places.

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