This paper illustrates an economic approach to understanding the cruise tourism industry as a driver of economic development in Costa Rica. The objective is to describe the role and activities of the cruise ship industry and identify sources of economic benefit and cost such that more informed local policy decisions about the cruise ship tourism might be made. For example, our analysis in dicates: the cruise tourism industry competes with the cargo shipping industry for port space at a significant cost to Costa Rican ports; the amount of money injected into the local economy per cruise tourist is substantially lower than for other types of tourism; Cruise ships purchase relatively few supplies in Costa Rica; Cruise ships generate a great deal of human waste, water and air pollution, which can create a serious health hazard, cleanup costs, a nd which are not commensurate with other types of tourism development available to Costa Rica; Decision makers may want to consider that investment in cruise touris friendly ports may be less efficient from a national perspective thaninvestment in infrastructure (e.g., airports) to increase more profitable types of tourism; And leaders may want to consider the encouragement of smaller "pocket" cruises over the current cruise version of mass tourism. This approach should be applicable to communities wherever cruise tourism currently exists or is under consideration to be included in the portfolio of community economic activities.

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Incae Business School

Seidl, A., Guiliano, F., & Pratt, L. (2006). Cruise Tourism and Community Economic Development in Central America and the Caribbean: the Case of Costa Rica. Pasos, 4(2), 213–224.