Residential Tourism along

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1 Residential Tourism along Costa Rica s Pacific Coast Martha Honey, Ph.D. Director, Washington, DC Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) 3rd International Conference Responsible Tourism University of Belize October 20, 2009

2 Costa Rica

3 In examining Residential Tourism we analyzed: Political climate & government planning. U.S. market: tourists, investors, & buyers. Links between resorts & international airport. Resort tourists & 2nd home buyers. Comparitive advantage of tourism sectors: ecotourism, cruise, resort, & residential.

4 Background 1987 Central American Peace Plan President Arias wins Nobel Peace Prize and ecotourism takes off By 1992 media declared Costa Rica the leading ecotourism destination

5 Components of Costa Rica s Ecotourism Model Small scale Locally owned: Costa Ricans or foreign residents Nature based: near parks or private reserves Many have strong environmental & social ethics

6 Financial Success of Costa Rica s Ecotourism Model In 2 decades Arrivals increased 7 times Receipts increased 14 times Costa Rica has doubled its earnings/tourist Costa Rica's Tourism Growth Year Arrivals (thousands) ,088 1,980 Gross receipts (millions US$) $133 $275 $718 $1,229 $1,895 Tourist expenditure well above international average $170/day in spending $800 - $1000/visit Over 40% of the tourist $ stays in the country. (INCAE) Costa Rica

7 Pacific Coast: Different Model

8 The Other Face of Costa Rican Tourism: Cruise, Resort & Residential Tourism Pacific Coast

9 Tourist Poll or Center: Papagayo Peninsula, Guanacaste s: Government concession to develop European-style all-inclusive beach resorts s: Master plans but no foreign investment Mid-1990s First resorts begun, amid scandal & public opposition 2000s Four Seasons opened, others followed Symbiotic relationship to new international airport

10 International Airport, Liberia 1976: Government built international airport outside Liberia for resort tourism : Largely for domestic flights & charters 2002: Delta Airlines began scheduled flights to U.S. Relationship between airport growth & growth of resort & residential tourism growth 2009: 12+ international scheduled carriers New international airport being planned near Osa Peninsula

11 New Variant in Coastal Tourism: Residential Tourism Took off since 2000 All inclusive gated villages All components increase value Driven by US market & dependent on US tourists Bottom line: real estate speculation

12 Golf Courses Golf courses considered necessary for resorts. Serious environmental impacts. 3.1% of tourists to Costa Rica play golf. Condominiums next to golf courses sell for 20% more. Real purpose: real estate speculation.. & they call it eco!

13 Profile of Tourist: Government Airport Surveys Airport Liberia San Jose From U.S. 80% 51% Visit North Pacific Coast (88%) 2 or more locations Beach & Sun 96% 57% Length of stay 9 nights 13 nights 5 star resorts 65% (2008) n.a. Vacation retails 9% 3.7%

14 Boom in Coastal Real Estate: : residential housing = 74% of construction on coast. highest in country. Driven by foreign market. Lack of planning & control. Shift towards apartments. Rental homes competing with hotels.

15 Bust in Residential Tourism : Majority of 5 star mega-resort projects announced in had been delayed present Resort tourism harder hit than ecotourism: fewer arrivals & lower occupancy. Construction & sales of new homes stopped. Future unpredictable because tied to global/us market.

16 Preliminary Recommendations Play to country s proven strengths & success: nature-based tourism Control & regulation resorts & residential construction to adhere to sustainable development policies Strengthen regional airports. Don t build another international airport. Strength small ( pocket ) cruise tourism. Don t expand mass cruise tourism. Silver lining to economic crisis: gives time to rethink strategy

17 New Coastal Development Hamanasi, Belize Loreto Bay, Baja CA St. Kitts Peninsula Resort Punta Islita, Costa Rica Molasses Reef, Ritz Carlton Reserve, Turks & Caicos Playa Viva, Mexico Four Seasons, Costa Rica Sandals, Jamaica Punta Cana Resort & Club, Dominican Star Island, The Bahamas Innovators

18 Innovators Symposium Rethinking Coastal Tourism Development: The Importance of Innovators in Times of Climate Change & Economic Crisis Stanford University ~ January 20-22, 2010

19 Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) Washington, DC 1333 H St., NW Suite 300 East Tower Washington, DC P: Stanford University 450 Serra Mall, Building 50 Room 51D Stanford, CA P: Websites: &

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