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Central America remains a hit with European travellers

European visitors to the region up by 1% in the period January-September 2013

Central America remains a popular destination for European travellers, with 647,925 Europeans visiting the region, which includes Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, between January and September 2013, one percent up on the same period last year according to preliminary figures. The total number of visitors to the region in this period was 9,373,476, also one percent more than between January and September in 2012.

While Costa Rica remains the most popular destination, with 220,641 European visitors attracted by its fascinating nature, wildlife and adventure tourism opportunities between January and September 2013, Panama was the country that experienced the biggest growth in this period, with 123,421 European visitors, 14 percent more than in the same period in 2012. This growing trend is bound to continue into 2014, as the country prepares to celebrate the Centenary of the Panama Canal in August this year.

In this period, the biggest increase was in the number of Spanish visitors, the biggest source market for Central America, which grew by nearly nine per cent, with a total of 127,656 travellers. Germany continues to be the second largest European market, followed by the UK, France and Italy.

The number of British visitors remained steady with 79,713 travellers arriving between January and September 2013. Of these, 26,702 British travellers went to Costa Rica; 17,112 travelled to Guatemala; 10,404 visited Honduras; 9,276 went to Panama; 7,874 to Nicaragua; 6,900 to Belize; and 1,445 visited El Salvador. The country that experienced the biggest increase in the number of British visitors was El Salvador (up 30%), followed by Belize (up 17%), Costa Rica (up 16%) and Nicaragua (up 9%). Central America continues to grow in popularity thanks to the efforts of the Central America Tourism Agency to promote the destination in Europe, plus the continuous investment on transport infrastructure, new hotels and tourist products, as well as an increased range of tour operator packages and flight connections available.

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