Feb 27 2010

Costa Rica Wants to Attract Baby Boomers

Country Strengthens Services
to Attract Foreign Retirees

Costa Rica claims that in the coming year, 10,000 foreign retirees will make the country their new home and generate income of an estimated $340 million annually.  This amount would be received by the country in the form of house payments, food, medicine and recreation, but also for the wages of 40,000 new jobs that would be generated by their arrival, estimates the ministries of Foreign Trade and Competitiveness.

The way to crystallize this goal is by creating communities designed for senior citizens and the importance of this goal was reflected yesterday after senior officials…signed the document declaring the activity of national interest.

The declaration will allow public institutions such as the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Trade to allocate resources to encourage and promote the creation of these communities.  Now only remains the signing of the decree by President Óscar Arias and subsequent publication in The Gazette to enter it into force.

The goal of state and private entrepreneurs from the businesses of real estate and health is that communities for retirees have specialized services for medical care and recreation.  In addition, efforts will be made that they be relatively close to hospitals, shops, beaches and mountains.

The idea is attractive to the Country, and is from now on directed at a cluster or conglomerate of related companies and attracting the attention of foreign retirees, said Jorge Woodbridge, Minister of Competitiveness.

Among the companies that have shown interest include hospitals and private clinics, especially those with international certification, as awarded by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

According to their strategy, Costa Rica’s first steps will be to attract U.S. and Canadian retirees, primarily from Florida, Arizona and Texas.  The focus will be on those over 65, better known as Baby Boomers, who were born shortly after World War II through the early 60s.

With the plan, Costa Rica will offer foreign petitioners for residency maximum tax exemptions. The amounts range from $ 5,000 to import the new resident’s vehicle and $10,000 when it comes to housewares brought from home.  Also considered was the option to give some kind of exemption on income tax, but that is still under study.

Another benefit that is offered to this population is that their residence formalities will be conducted in a single window in the General Directorate of Migration.

This plan also identifies potential areas where these special communities will be located from now on.  These include the area around Lake Arenal in Tilarán, Guanacaste, Orosi, Cartago, Miramar, Puntarenas, and Poas volcano area.

One of the projects aimed at foreign retirees already functions in San Pedro de Poas, Alajuela province.  This is the Mountain Refuge, which since July 2009 serves older adults who chose Costa Rica as their new home.  Ronald Garcia, the owner, explained that the property has a center with 10 rooms and a villa, and invested $400,000 in this project.

NOTE: This is a translation from the original article in Spanish by Sergio Arce A.  It was published in the online version of La Nacion, a major Costa Rican newspaper, on February 19, 2010.

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