Telephone: (506) 2299-5800.
If you know the extension, dial 2299 and the extension number you wish to communicate with.
Address: Costado Este del Puente Juan Pablo II, sobre la Autopista General Cañas.
Postal Code: 777-1000 San Jose.
Opening times: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
History and Legal Institutional Framework
The participation of the State in tourism development began in 1930 with the creation of the first private hotel called "Gran Hotel Costa Rica", a first class hotel built with the support of a private company and the incentive of the Government of the Republic. Back then, tourism was mainly foreign tourists who entered by sea through the Port in Limon, and from there they traveled to San Jose via the Northern Railway Company railroad.
The first tourism related regulation was passed in 1931 by Law 91 of June 16, 1931, which estates the creation of the "National Tourism Board", an entity that operated until August 09, 1955, when the institution known today as the "Costa Rica Tourism Board" was created by Law 1917.
Today the institution continues the course of organizational changes done to reinforce the processes carried out so far. Even more important is the series of proposals regarding new functions and processes the institute must assume so the Costa Rican tourism industry can be competitive and maintain its position in the international market.
The main changes involve: strengthening formulation processes and implementation of tourism development planning, investor attraction and consultancy, development of competitive and high quality systems, development of comprehensive marketing, customer service for tourists, generation of information for decision making processes, reinforcement of management improvement processes (service comptrollership, revenue, administrative analysis), among others.
This is the projected vision:
"By 2021, ICT is consolidated as the governing tourism entity in Costa Rica, guaranteeing a supportive and equitable sustainable tourism development model that uses innovation, the development of its workforce, and effective public management to promote new opportunities for tourism development that helps improve the competitiveness and the life quality that as a nation we aspire for."
The institutional mission is the following:
Become an institution that aims to strengthen the Costa Rican sustainable tourism development model through the definition of public policies, alliances, programs, and projects to encourage competitiveness, sustainability, equity, solidarity, and a pleasant stay for tourists, always looking to improve the living standards of Costa Ricans.
Institutional policies for tourism management correspond to the standards that apply within ICT to comply with the mission and vision of the institution. They correspond to the "rules of the game" that should be observed at all times as a part of the institutional mode of action.
ICT is always developing programs, projects, and processes with a proactive and effective focus on the elements of the Sustainable Tourism Development Model, through adequate and comprehensive resource allocation.
Management and Control Policies
General policies include the non-negotiable general dispositions that govern national tourism development, as well as the actions of the ICT for future projections 2002-2012 that have been discussed. They have a long term connotation and must consider becoming mandatory for the national tourism industry.
- Human Resources: Comprehensive management of human resources is based on the development of competence, skills, and abilities that provide value to personal growth and work development; all this to promote a cultural and an organizational environment that supports the accomplishment of institutional objectives, knowledge update, the dignity of the employees, and the social responsibility for their actions.
- Financial-Administrative Management: The operations of the institution are suggested from an organic and practical structure that is constantly evolving. They are based on flexible work procedures carried out considering criteria like ethics, efficiency, efficacy, transparency, responsibility in view of danger, and financial accuracy within the relevant legal framework, and in line with institutional objectives.
- Knowledge and Information: The creation of strategic information involves transparency, opportunity, pertinence, and truthfulness, and aims to guarantee and maintain an adequate level of technical knowledge, as well as a flow of internal and external information for different clients in an efficient, effective, and opportune manner, in order to improve competitiveness, knowledge of the industry and decision making processes.
- Technology: Institutional processes will have a modern technological management that adjusts to the needs of the institution and the clients, responding in an effective and flexible manner the touristic demands in the national and international reality through research, effectiveness, and innovation in its actions, thus facilitating the transmission of knowledge and the decision making processes.
- Innovation: The institution and its employees are constantly innovating, creating new ideas and concepts, and new products and services, in order to improve institutional production and national tourism business; reason why employees are always up to date in topics of tourism and in every single area related to the endeavors of the tourism company.
- Planning: Orient institutional endeavors towards successful management through the efficient appointment and use of the economic and human resources, as well as the clarity of process, monitoring, and feedback of the institutional management. Institutional planning will be framed within the National Tourism Plan, designed, executed, monitored, and updated by ICT, the governing entity; it will include the participation of those related to the tourism system, and it will display the desired sustainable model of development, including other State institutions, municipalities, tourism business chambers, associations, and other local organisms.
- Control: Institutional management will incorporate good administrative practices that guarantee an adequate Institutional Control System to develop a favorable organization culture for the strategic control, allowing interaction between the institutional strategy, management, and evaluation, in order to accomplish an honest, efficient, and transparent administration.
- Business Continuity: ICT guarantees its critical processes are being continuously verified through standard guidelines and procedures for both, internal and external clients, in case of events or incidents that affect the continuity of its activities.
- Customer Service: ICT commits to manage its service processes for both, citizens and internal and external clients in order to guarantee transparency, efficiency, and quality in its services. It also commits to work towards a continuous improvement of its management in order to allow the detection, evaluation, and satisfaction of the requirements of its clients or groups of interest.
- Administration: Tourism administration will be carried out through the development of mechanisms that allow the interaction of efforts, alliances, and action from different public and private stakeholders, to consolidate the sustainable development model for tourism. ICT employees will do everything in their power to get to know, interpret, and satisfy the needs of the sector in the frame of the tourism model desired for the country; thus providing an adequate, complete and opportune solution within the legal, moral, and ethical scope.
- Project Management: ICT will actively encourage the attainment of national and international resources, or other mechanisms, to complement the resources the institution already has, and comply with the institutional objectives. These resources must allow the development of products and programs in benefit of the clients, the internal management and the destination.
- Experience systematization: The systematization, transfer, and feedback of the experiences in tourism-related matters and activity management will be encouraged as a mechanism to generate internal and external skills, improve competitiveness, and promote an interaction process between public and private sectors and other parties related to the tourism activities, in order to consolidate the desired development model.
- Gender: ICT will incorporate gender equality and equity in the institutional management by means of their procedures and action strategies
Seven strategic objectives are proposed, all directly related to the accomplishment of the defined mission and vision:
- Strengthen the management mechanisms, instruments, and instances in order to exert the administration, adaptation, and coordination of tourism growth in the direction of the sustainable development model for tourism.
- Consolidate a comprehensive system of strategic information and knowledge for decision making processes, in public and private scopes..
- Improve the positioning of Costa Rica as a distinguished destination through strategies in both, international and national markets, in compliance with the sustainable development model for tourism.
- Promote competitiveness between tourism companies in the country through the differentiation of the tourism model, creation and transfer of knowledge, social responsibility, and sustainability to improve the positioning of the country.
- Promote the sustainable use of the elements in the space and the heritage tourism through the planning, creation, and transfer of knowledge, and the development of local skills for its integration in the tourism products that contribute to the positioning of the destination.
- Accomplish a productive (efficient and effective) financial administration management of ICT based on the development model.
- Develop a model of organizational culture towards the accomplishment of objectives in the model of Sustainable Tourism Development, always working for the wellbeing of Costa Ricans, the communities, and the country.
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