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Central America focuses on tourists from Europe

The upsurge in tourism to the seven small countries of Central America continues. The intention is that visitors from Europe will be playing a more important role in this process in the future. “We are making progress on the European source market, which still retains a great potential for us," stated Carolina Briones, Director General of the Central America Tourism Agency (CATA) at ITB Berlin.
This is due to the fact that these travellers, “as a rule, have longer vacations, they stay longer and generally spend more than visitors from other regions.” Briones also emphasized that Germany is an “especially important market”. The largest number of European visitors come from Spain, followed by Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.According to figures released by CATA, in 2014 over 9.6 million tourists from all over the world visited Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, a 5.6 per cent increase over the previous year. Approximately one in ten of all visitors are from Europe. Among these seven small countries Costa Rica remains the leading destination.They are home to no fewer than 17 UNESCO world heritage sites. The main attractions are the historic palaces of the Maya, the colonial cities, the volcanoes, some of them active, the palm-fringed beaches on the Atlantic and the Pacific, as well as exotic flora and fauna in the jungle and on the many nature reserves.
Tour operators have confirmed that governments and authorities are making increased efforts to deal with the crime and violence that has existed in some regions, some of it directed against tourists. If requested to do so, special tourist police are available, for example in Guatemala, to accompany groups of travellers on their excursions. Politicians from the CATA region have repeatedly complained that the safety advice and warnings from the Foreign Office in Berlin and from other governments are exaggerated.     Bernd Kubisch
halle 3.1 / CATA 3.1/237
Press contact: Carolina Briones
tel.: +505 888 48225

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