Costa Rica, a country situated in central America with its main source of income through tourism. The country is one of the most visited destinations and has no army from a long time. Costa Rica is also an enticing investment country and provides tremendous opportunities for the establishment of major multinational corporations, due to the high academic level of its workforce as well as the high quality of modern facilities and social and political stability. Many misconceptions that people have about Costa Rica has affected its image as a country. Whether it might be about official language or confusion about the culture. Tourist visiting misunderstand about the country as only a tourist place and an agricultural nation.
Anholt coined the word ‘Country Brand’ as the summary of a nation’s perceptions in the six realms of national authority: exports, government, tourism, investment and immigration, culture and the heritage and human beings. The strengths and weaknesses of a country depend on every point of the ‘hexagon’ (consisted of the six respective angles named after the key-components of the nation brand notion). Tourism may play an important role in the research arena of nation branding among the six components (Giannopoulos, Avlonitisa and Piha, 3).
The usage and marketing of a country’s logo is an example of a nation branding technique. A country’s picture is the people’s opinion and beliefs about a nation, and it can be shaped by a number of factors, including its geography, culture, proclamations, art and music, prominent residents, and other features (Kotler and Gertner 2004, 42). People were able to say there are Costa Rican only after the nation became its own country. Nationality, however, is not the same as national identity. Costa Rica’s rich class has shaped the country’s identity (Sebel 2020, 20). They presented an impression (perhaps more imaginary than real) of colonial Costa Rica as being without a caste system, class distinctions, almost no slaves, no nobility, and democratic and with standardized customs. Costa Ricans consider their country peaceful, as well. Not only has the army been disbanded, but Costa Rica sought to prevent confrontation and war since independence, which other countries in Central America witnessed (Sandoval-GarcÃa 2004, 68). The images of Ticos, who would usually want to avoid confrontation, represent this too. But independence is perhaps the highest characteristic of the Costa Ricans’ national identity. Once again, they are proud that they have taken another direction than their Central American neighbors, who all have been dealing with military dictatorships.
In just 0.035 percent of the world’s land, the nation contains up to 6% of the world’s biodiversity. It is home to wildlife, volcanoes, beaches, and rain forests despite being one of Central America’s smallest nations. Nature did not necessarily take precedence in Costa Rica. At the end of the last century, almost 80% of Costa Rica’s forests had been cleared for a wide range of reasons. The number of tourists visiting the nation also increased in Costa Rica (Miller 2012, 59-60). Costa Rica tried to develop its infrastructure and transport during this period. The country has constructed railways, widened the Pan-American Highway and developed an international airport in the area of San Jose. However, by the end of the 1980s Costa Rica had cleared nearly 80% of its initial forest cover. Forests were useless in Costa Ricans’ eyes, and only land clearance demonstrated a person’s reputation for hard labor (Miller 2012, 61).
The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), also known as the Costa Rican Tourism Board, is the leading force behind the branding and communication efforts of Costa Rica. Created in 1955, the Institute has the responsibility to regulate tourism activities in Costa Rica and to promote tourism attractions and destinations in Costa Rica both at the national and international levels. The institution is the independent State (government) institution. 342 grants the tourist declaration to hotels, travel agents, charters and other Costa Rican tourism agencies and service providers and establishes tourism standards, rules, incentives.
A separate state governments committee, responsible for managing the Essential Costa Rica Country Brand, has been set up to work with public, private partners as well as the people themselves in cooperation and participation. This organization is independent from the executive governments which replace one another to rule the country which, while it works with the administrations in the office in a natural way, guarantees it a non-party status and is excluded from political outcomes.
The environmental engagement of tourism policy has made a good contribution to Costa Rica’s perception along with other key policies: education promotion (a 96% literacy rates), culture, peace (the head office of the United Nations Peace University), access to healthcare (free nation-wide service) and industry growth (export of technology and food products to 157 countries).
In 1996 it launched its global non-artificial ingredient tourism branding campaign, which aims to promote the country as an exotic destination closer and cheaper than other similarly marketable destinations like Thailand and other Asian countries. The global marketing agency McCann Erickson has created a campaign to make Costa Rica a successful ecotourism destination by sending messages such as ‘Take the largest volcano in Central America, add to national parks, blend into miles of pristine beaches’ (Jain and De Moya 2011, 342).
Costa Rica’s country brand’s success was increasing, providing evidence of how well designed and applied nation-branded systems function effectively. In November 2019, the Essential Costa Rica Country Brand won the ‘Place Brand of the Year Award’ for its ‘commitment for a sustainable, comprehensive strategy and its belief in the potential of the brand to unite a whole nation’ at the City Nation Place Global, event in London. For other country brands it is a very critical acknowledgement of the ideals of preservation, sustainability and citizens’ inclusion.