Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Some 1,250 Costa Ricans are already in Jamaica for the Costa Rica/Jamaica World Cup qualifying match this evening at the National Stadium in Kingston.
It is estimated that some 2,000 sport fans from the Central American country are expected to converge on the island in what local Destination Management Companies have described as a windfall for sports tourism.
The fans have been arriving on the north coast since last weekend on charter flights operated by Avianca and TACA airlines and COPA, said Oliver Townsend of Caribbean Vacations, whose company is in charge of over 700 persons.
Townsend said he has never seen anything like this, particularly during September when business in hotels is low.
"It's a very good thing for Jamaica at this time. Some of them are staying at RIU Montego Bay and RIU Ocho Rios, while others are at DeCameron," he told The Gleaner.
The woman charged with ensuring they experience the best of Jamaica, Memuna Abudu, also of Caribic Vacations, said the Costa Ricans were out daily visiting various attractions, with the Bob Marley Museum, being the most popular on the list.
The majority of the business has been split between Caribic and Holiday Services, which is operated by Tobi King.
King said all the Kingston hotels are full and she was having problems finding rooms for last-minute booking. She added that from as early as July, persons were booking transportation and accommodation with her company, however, in the last week the numbers have increased considerably.
"There are many who will be only in for the match," she noted.