Hype for the prestigious park continues
The tourism industry is constantly changing, and in Costa Rica, that means rapidly developing in order to fit the needs of the increasing number of tourists that arrive every year. Travelers and tourists across the globe are looking for variety: ecotourism is booming and adventure and educational packages are on the rise.
Discovery Communications, Inc., best known for the cable television channels Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, has announced it will license its name for “Discovery Costa Rica,” a $1-billion ecotourism park set to open in 2020. The project was announced by President Luis Guillermo Solís earlier this week. According to the park’s CEO John Scheman, construction will begin early next year and local investment firm Sun Latin America will assume the risks associated with developing and owning the project.
While other media giants, such as Walt Disney Co. and Comcast (which owns Universal), tend to center their theme parks around movies and popculture, Discovery plans to take a different approach. The park will include eco-adventure activities that celebrate conservation and biodiversity, such as rock climbing, hiking, and scuba diving, as well as Discovery branded hotels, sports areas and restaurants.
The attraction will be located in Guanacaste and take advantage of Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes. The Discovery Ranch will be the center of the project, consuming 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of land just outside the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. The final project will also include the Discovery Beach, Ocean and Volcano in other locations around the region.
The large media company wants its audience to live out the Discovery lifestyle beyond the confines of the TV screen. The belief is that millennials are increasingly interested in an experience, rather than just a chair on the beach, and the park will complement “Wild Costa Rica,” an Animal Planet show celebrating biodiversity that aired last August.
President Solis says this one of the largest investments in tourism the country has seen in the past 10 years, and he highlights the opportunities uniting Costa Rica with such a prestigious brand can create. Discovery representatives also confirmed that they will employ 2,000 workers during the two-year construction phase and, once operational, will generate 4,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Meetings regarding the project began in 2015, and the park has officially obtained all environmental feasibility permits in accordance with Costa Rican laws. Environment Minister Edgar Gutiérrez says despite local concerns, the project will not endanger the water supply in Guanacaste, but instead, water for the project will come from drilled wells that already exist in the area.