Country Profile – History – Tourism

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The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism is an autonomous institution of the Costa Rican Government, created by Law No. 1917, July 30, 1955, by President Jose Figueres Ferrer (1954-1958). According to the law, if the private sector is unable to meet the service demands, the Institute may build, lease, or manage hotels as well as sports and recreational areas.

The Institute promotes the country abroad through advertising through the collaboration of other governmental agencies, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also promotes activities for tourist-related industries, sports, artistic and cultural events such as indigenous arts. The lnstitute may also operate transportation services, build access roads to areas of natural beauty or scientific importance and protect the national flora and fauna.

The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism may acquire land to create new parks or to extend existing ones and it has the right to expropiate land.

The Institute has the legal obligation to protect all tourists and to assure their well being during their stay in the country.

Administratively, the Institute is divided into two departments headed by an Executive President who oversees Finance and Marketing, and an Executive Advisor who oversees the department of Operations and Development.

The Institute of Tourism has an annual budget of two million dollars, plus funds channeled through special taxes levied on international air tickets (5%), hotel room rates (3%), and two dollars on tourist cards (a travel document by which any person may travel to Costa Rica in lieu of a passport).

Source: Who’s Who In Costa Rica 1979 1980.