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Central America reports record visitor figures in 2014

The popularity of Central America – including Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama - as a tourist destination amongst European visitors, and British visitors in particular, continues to rise as the latest figures show an increase of 12.8% in European visitors and of 8.8% in British visitors during the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2013.

The region received a total of 6,324,962 visitors between January and June 2014, an increase of 4.9% compared to the 6,027,147 visitors received in the same period last year.  Guatemala (up by 9.8%) and Nicaragua (up by 9.7%) where the countries that experienced the biggest growth.  Costa Rica remains the most popular destination overall, followed closely by Panama.

A total of 488,682 European visitors travelled to Central America in the first six months of 2014.  Spain continues to be the main source market for 88,010 visitors, followed by Germany with 73,268 visitors, France (66,849 visitors), and the UK in fourth place with a total of 54,771 visitors.

Whilst Costa Rica continues to be the favourite destination for British visitors (20,537 in the first half of the year), other destinations are rapidly growing in popularity, in particular Guatemala, which saw an increase of 15.3% in the number of visitors, attracted by the country’s fascinating Maya heritage and new products introduced this year like the Maya trek.  El Salvador, whilst still receiving small numbers, has also grown considerably (up by 16.1%) as more British tour operators such as Cox & Kings start to feature it in their programmes.  Nicaragua, nominated by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2015, had an increase of 7% in the number of British visitors.

The Central America Tourism Agency (CATA), through its offices in Spain and the main European markets, has continued to work to promote the destination in Europe, helping the travel trade improve their knowledge of the region through training and familiarisation visits.

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