The Environment Ministry is pledging to fund more than $3.6 million to upgrade infrastructure at Costa Rica’s national parks in 2021, the government declared Wednesday.

The single greatest commitment is 850 million colones (about $1.4 million) to renew tourist facilities at Tenorio Volcano National Park. That project is supposed to start in the second half of this year.

The outstanding 1,400 million colones (about $2.3 million) will be distributed between projects at Marino Ballena National Park, Corcovado National Park, La Amistad National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, and the Golfito National Wildlife Refuge.

Those works will be completed within 12 months of their groundbreaking dates later in 2021. Details of the projects were not made immediately available.

“The tourism sector is the most involved in our economy due to the pandemic and, recognizing this reality, we have adopted as a Government, with the leadership of the Tourism Board and other institutions, a group of measures to push the reactivation of tourist activity,” said President Carlos Alvarado.

Among the other reactivation measures announced Wednesday are:

  • Visa-free tourism for some Chinese citizens.
  • Supporting a bill to give a day off on Father’s Day this year.
  • Financial credits to rural tourism entrepreneurs.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism generated 225,000 direct jobs and 83,000 indirect jobs in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s GDP fell 4.5% in 2020, and the economic impacts were felt hardest by hotels and restaurants (-40.7%), according to the Central Bank of Costa Rica.