Costa Rica seeks to position itself as the perfect destination to connect with life’s essential values


  • “Only the Essentials” is the ICT’s new international campaign to promote the country in the United States and Canada, its two main tourist-sending markets, over the next two years.
  • The campaign will be present on billboards, buses, taxis and the Chicago subway, as well as digital and print media, specialized tourism organizations, Google and Bing search engines and social media, among others.
  • The launch is part of the job creation and economic growth plan announced on national television this Sunday by the President of the Republic.

Visiting Costa Rica is an opportunity to connect with the essence of life: nature, wellness, culture and adventure. This is the message that the Costa Rican Tourism Board used to launch its new “Only the Essentials” promotional campaign in the country’s two largest tourist-sending markets, the United States of America and Canada.

“The campaign seeks to form a personal connection to what really matters in life, which is what Costa Rica offers through its vast array of experiences, its numerous landscapes, nature, culture and adventure. This is a call to go back to the essential”, said Maria Amalia Revelo, the Minister of Tourism.

“Only the Essentials is an evolution of the concept that encapsulates the Essential Costa Rica country brand”, noted Revelo during the launch activity held Monday at the Cubo de Cristal at the Estadio Nacional.

The event was attended by President Alvarado as well as the Minister of Planning and Economic Policy, Pilar Garrido and dozens of representatives of the National Chamber of Tourism and local tourism associations. 

President Alvarado highlighted the importance of tourism activities, reminding the audience that its direct and indirect impacts represent 8.2% of the country’s GDP and is the main source of income for thousands of families. “Tourism is an engine of the Costa Rican economy that this government seeks to promote to continue creating jobs, growth and wellness in the country”, he pointed out.

Continuing, he referred to the economic growth plan announced Sunday on national television, which will be focused on four action areas: public investment, private investment, hiring incentives and economic measures for private households.

The tourism campaign launch was framed within this plan, the full details of which will be released on Tuesday, September 3. 




Beginning on September 2 and with a duration of two years, the campaign will be active in the US cities of New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Tampa-Orlando, Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas-Houston, Atlanta, Boston and Chicago. In Canada, it will include Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.

Outdoor advertising will see “Only the Essentials” present on billboards, buses, taxis and Chicago subway stations. In addition, it will be promoted in digital media including online travel agencies, specialized tourism organizations like TripAdvisor, personalized content, media including Condé Nast, the Afar travel magazine and the prestigious New York Times, among others, as well as social media and the Google and Bing search engines.

This international campaign was produced at ICT’s request by the American advertising agency MMGY and Costa Rican producer Luz Marina, who filmed the local landscapes over the course of a week.

Before implementing “Only the Essentials”, eight focus group sessions were organized to evaluate the proposal. Four of these sessions were held in the Canadian cities of Montreal and Toronto, while the other four were held in New York and Los Angeles. Residents of the cities chosen participated in the focus groups based on target markets, tastes and preferences. 

This is the fourth international campaign that ICT is holding to promote Costa Rica in North America. The first one was “No Artificial Ingredients” in 1997, followed by “The Gift of Happiness”, “Save the Americans” and “My Choice, Naturally”.  

Tourism by the numbers

Tourism is one of the main engines of the country’s economy. According to the Tourism Satellite Account of the Central Bank of Costa Rica, the tourism industry directly accounts for 6.3% of the national economy and 1.9% indirectly, which adds up to 8.2% of the Gross Domestic Product.

In addition, 8.8% of the country’s total employment comes directly from tourism. Combined with the productive linkages and indirect employment the industry generates, it represents the main source of income for thousands of Costa Rican families. 

During the first half of 2019, the country saw 1,549,812 international arrivals by air, the main source of visitors to the country. Of this total, 65% came from the United States and Canada.


Última Modificación: 12/08/2022.
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo