The new plan that regulates Poás Volcano National Park, located in Alajuela, contemplates reducing reception capacity by 50% for its reopening, which implies losing nearly 200 thousand visitors per year.
According to records of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), in 2016 this was the second most visited park in the entire country, receiving 402,126 people, which represents 18.78% of all visits made to the Protected Wild Areas of the country.
As a requirement to return to operation, after a year of being closed due to eruptions, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) asked SINAC to develop a “Plan for the Controlled Management of Visitation to the National Park”, which establishes a reduction in tourist reception capacity.
That [previous] amount of visitors in an active volcano is not recommended because of the high flow. With projections we could lower that amount by about half, managing it in a controlled manner and in groups,”
explained Rafael Gutiérrez, regional director of the Central Volcanic Mountain Conservation Area (ACCVC).
The economic impact is obvious. By December 2017, seven months after the closure of the park, SINAC had recorded losses of ¢ 1,066 million from the sale of tickets alone. However, neighbors and community organizations have denounced the sharp decline in sales since the park was closed.
Gutiérrez explained that they intend to implement a digital ticket purchase system in order to regulate traffic to the park and facilitate access to tourists.
On April 13th, 2017, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) asked for the closure of Poás Volcano National Park due to strong eruptions of ash and gases, together with the seismic activity.