As Costa Rica prepares to open its doors to visitors for the first time in decades, the country’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the Trump Administration’s decision to cancel a visa requirement.
Now, the tourism industry is fighting back by calling for a boycott of Costa Rica, a move that could lead to the country being shut down.
The country’s Tourism Department announced on Thursday that it was suspending its travel to Costa Rica for three months to “prevent the spread of disease and the spread and spread of terrorism.”
According to Costa Rican tourism website Tourismista, “the government of Costa Rico is doing its utmost to maintain the public peace and tranquility in Costa Rican national territory and the citizens of Costa Rican territory.”
The tourism ministry said the suspension is being made to ensure “that the tourism sector does not attract the foreign elements, foreign money, and foreign companies, which may contribute to the spread, promotion and financing of terrorist organizations.”
The Tourism Ministry said it is “taking necessary measures to ensure that Costa Rica remains safe for visitors.”
Costa Rica was not the only country to face a travel ban on Thursday, when the United States revoked visas for many visitors and residents of seven other countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
The US also closed its embassy in Panama and suspended all visa programs.
“The decision to revoke visas from certain countries in Central America is an appropriate and proportional measure to the continued rise of violent extremism and the threat of terrorism in the region,” said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a statement.
“Costa Rica is a critical partner for our country, and its strong economy supports more than 1 million jobs, generating billions of dollars in economic activity and contributing to regional stability.”
Costa Rican President Jose Maria Aznar said in a tweet that “the United States should reconsider its decision to suspend travel visas.”
Aznar, who has been in office since 2000, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the suspension, which he said was made “without a full discussion of all the relevant factors and facts.”
The Costa Rican government said it will resume the visa process on April 6.