Tourism and transport show first signs of recovery in Costa Rica

Economic activities linked to tourism and transport have given the first signs of recovery in Costa Rica last March, after the precipitous fall, they registered the same month of 2020, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The monthly index of economic activity, calculated by the Central Bank of Costa Rica, shows annual growth of 3.9% for March 2021. This is the first positive figure in 12 months after the coup brought to the economy which led to the closure of borders, the limitations on companies and the vehicle restriction imposed a year earlier.

Data for March is the most recent published by the Central Bank. Updated last Wednesday evening. According to the IMAE cycle trend series, the annual change in production reached its lowest point in June 2020, when a process of gradual recovery began.

Lime and sand

In March 2021, trade recorded an annual growth of 2.1%, better than the 2.7% decline recorded a year earlier. In the case of hotels and restaurants (related to tourism) and transport, although they continue to show a decrease from year to year, the magnitude of the decrease is less than that of the same month of 2020. Activities such as manufacturing, service and infocommunications professionals registered positive Growth rates in March, but lower than those they exhibited in 2020.

Awakening of the “definitive diet”

The result obtained in March can be explained more by the activity of the “definitive regime” (excluding free zones) which, for the first time in a year, has shown positive annual growth.

Since this is a year-over-year comparison, the economy in March 2021 shows a better performance than 12 months ago, when it recorded a sharp drop due to the severe sanitary measures put in place at the time.

A long process ahead

This does not mean that the activities are fully recovered. In contrast, economic activity in special regimes continues to register double-digit year-over-year growth. For the month of March, this sector grew by 13.7% year over year.

Although it continues to function as the main engine of the economy, over the past two months the free zones sector has experienced a slight slowdown. The best performance in this segment remains that of the medical devices industry with growth of around 20% over one year.

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