Saturday, April 18, 2009

Arrival Of More Charter Flights To Liberia Announced

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute has announced the arrival of more charter flights to Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport starting next November.

Even though ICT didn’t say which specific airlines will be offering these services, it did indicate they are from North America and EuropeCanada and Germany, respectively.

Tourism Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides added that negotiations are underway with other companies that organize this kind of flights originating in England and Spain, in efforts to add three new direct flights to Costa Rica.

Tourism officials also said they are in conversations to add a South American airline to the Liberia flight schedule in the next few months.

The announcement was made only one month after U.S. carrier Continental said it would increase its flights to San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport and to Daniel Oduber, beginning in March.

The expansion plan includes a new flights on Saturdays from New York to San Jose, thus reaching three weekly flights from this U.S. city.

The flights to San Jose will leave the Newark airport at 11:55 a.m., arriving at 3.15 p.m. The return flight will leave San Jose at 4:05 p.m. and arrive at Newark at 11:15 p.m.

There will be another flight on Saturdays, but between Houston and Liberia. This flight will leave Texas at 11:29 a.m. and touch down in Liberia at 1:50 p.m. It will then leave Liberia at 2:40 p.m. and arrive in Houston at 7:13 p.m.

The expansion in flight frequency to and from Costa Rica obeyed to “the strong promotion Costa Rica is doing in international markets, which has resulted in the need to increase our offerings,” said Carlos Granados, sales manager for Continental in Costa Rica.

The goal of attracting new flights to Liberia has to do with efforts to face the visitation reduction experienced in the past few months due to the international economic recession.

In the first two months of this year, the number of foreign tourists in the Guanacaste region has decreased by 16.6 percent.

This translates into 13,700 less visitors to Guanacaste.

And even though occupancy numbers during the Easter vacation time (which is considered part of the high tourism season) were lower than on other occasions, some polls taken among tourism industry companies indicated these are not expecting a rebound during the upcoming low season, which begins in May as the rainy season settles in.