9% of total GDP in Colombia (U.S.$3,524 million) and generates 386,000 direct jobs, equivalent to 1.8% of total employment in the country (Tourism Industry in Colombia).
The Composition of Tourism in Colombia
With 3,208 km of coastline (1,760 km on Caribbean Sea and 1,448 km on Pacific Ocean),
and 400 km of Amazon forest and Andean mountains, Colombia has a vast array of possible tourist destinations.
Some of the reasons tourists are interested in visiting Colombia would be its privileged location on the continent. All the environments of the tropics are present: glaciers, beaches, plains, rainforests, and deserts, which all add to its desirability (Where to go?).
Colombia also has countless tourist destinations offering a wide array of activities. Even the most jaded traveler can't help but be swept up by the magic of Cartagena, steeped in history and gentle people. Oozing romance, the old city is a warren of cobblestone streets that meander between pastel-painted mansions.
Ciudad Perdida, the 'Lost City', is Colombia's version of Machu Pichu. The city was built by the Tayrona Indians 900 years ago but abandoned after the Spanish conquest (when most of the Indians were wiped out). It was only rediscovered in 1975, having been covered for centuries by impenetrable jungle (Where to go in Colombia).
The renewal of visits from cruise ships to Colombia has been one of the most important tourist industry components. In the case of cruises, in 2007 a total of 99 cruise ships touched port in Colombia with 126,817 passengers, equivalent to growth of 151.1% compared to the previous year (Tourism Industery in Colombia).
Royal Caribbean, the worlds most modern and second-largest cruise line arrived in Cartagena in April 2007, after six years of absence. It was the first of 36 ships scheduled by the cruise line for the season 2007-2008. According to estimates, this first ship generated income worth 385,000 dollars, and income is expected to be three times higher this season than in 2005-2006 (Tourism Industery in Colombia).
Effects of Tourism Industry on Colombia Employment
The tourism sector's goal for 2008 is to employ over one million workers. This represents 5.3% of the total domestic workforce or one of every 19 jobs (Tourism Industery in Colombia).
Colombia has an important tourist potential that has not yet been fully explored. This makes the tourism industry a reliable tool for sustainable job creation for years to come.
Costa Rica's Tourist Industry
Costa Rica has been known to have stability throughout the country, including its economy, which is one that largely depends on tourism and agriculture.
The tourism industry really starting to thrive in the 1930s and has been growing intensely ever since. The local tourism market is growing at a 7.1% annual growth rate.
Costa Rica used to be known principally as a producer of bananas and coffee. Now on a par with bananas and coffee, tourism has become a major economic priority, and a large number of new hotels are under construction, many of them owned by foreign investors.
Costa Rica's Tourism Growth in Recent Years
This industry has grown dramatically. In 1992 more than a half million foreigners visited Costa Rica, and spent an estimated $200 million. In 2008 an estimated 1.9 million visitors came to Costa Rica. Now the tourism industry brings in over $1.5 billion every year. Tourism is thriving in Costa Rica with 48% of tourists arriving from the U.S.A., 16% from Europe and 36% from other countries, and there is expected future growth for 2009.
Tourism Industry Ranks Second in Costa Rica's Economy
The tourism industry continues to be among the most dynamic economic sectors, generating a wide range of benefits including a growing contribution to GDP, approximately ten percent, and substantial foreign exchange earnings.
Tourism ranks second in revenue generation for Costa Rica. The country has not been overdeveloped with mega resorts and volume tour groups, which limits the number of travelers coming into the country; therefore, beaches, parks, nature preserves, and rivers are still desirable to locals. The tourism sector currently accounts for $1.7 billion every year.
The Composition of Tourism in Costa Rica
National Parks like Chirripo, Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, Corcovado, Totuguero and Manuel Antonio, are major tourist attractions. Whatever your vacation interests -- jungle adventure tours, eco-tourism, white water rafting, surfing, scuba diving incredible reefs, canopy tours, golf, all inclusive hotels, bird watching, sport fishing and swimming with dolphins in crystal-clear ocean waters, or just relaxing on an unspoiled tropical beach -- you will find all of that and more in this tropical and secure paradise (Costa Rica has & #8230;).
The Costa Rican experience is one of the most exotic and undiscovered vacation destinations in the world, boasting unsurpassed natural beauty and an impressive array of distinctions: towering and fiery volcanoes, pristine beaches, raging rivers, virgin rainforests, cloud forests, and abundant wildlife (Costa Rica has…).
Costa Rica also is renowned for its efforts to promote the value of "eco-tourism" in the world. Although a relatively new trend in travel, eco-tourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry. The incredible growth is due in part to the increasing number of environmentally conscious consumers who have taken to ecotourism because it combines an exotic travel experience with the self-satisfying notion of being socially and environmentally responsible (Dasenbrock).
The idea behind eco-tourism is to preserve a nation's natural resources while profiting from them. As avid travelers, bored by hotel lined beaches and crowded theme parks, turn to the more exotic adventures offered by Costa Rican eco-tourism.
Travelers who enjoy going to remote corners of the globe that expose them to diverse wildlife and cultures developing in isolation from the modernized world, can take advantage of Costa Rica's eco-tourism industry. The numbers of tourists interested in this aspect of travel have increased steadily over the last few years (Dasenbrock).
Effects of the Tourism Industry on Costa Rica's Employment
In 2008, 15,000 new jobs were created during the first six months of the year.
The industry now employs 500,000 Costa Ricans -- about 17% of the population. Approximately 110,000 are directly employed in the tourism industry and another 400,000 are indirectly employed by the industry. These numbers have grown steadily since 1955, and the tourism industry today is very different industry than 50 years ago.
Unfortunately, many of the hotels are being built with only short-term profit in mind, and without considering the effect such development will have on the local ecosystems. Some believe it is unwise for any local economy to place too much emphasis on tourism. Instability in the region, a major earthquake, civil disturbances, hyperinflation, even the whims of tourists could depress tourism sending the economy into a tailspin (Staff).