In last week’s post I published part of an email from a past guest who felt that the practice in Costa Rica charging visitors higher entrance fees than locals is unfair and bad for the tourism business. I asked for your thoughts and offered to send a bag of coffee to the person who in my view sent the best response.
Nine of you responded. With one exception all the responses were very well thought out and insightful.
Seven of you clearly felt that at least under some circumstances differential pricing is justified. One person, Gordon MacQueen, of WOWCuba and MacQueen’s Bike Shop and Island Tours, who you met in a previous post, expressed a somewhat different view, which interestingly appears to be somewhat at odds with his daughter Kristen’s take.
Then while I was writing this, Natalie, our Chief Client Satisfaction Officer send me a link to a post and discussion on this same topic with more diverse opinions in the Lonely Planet Blog.
For me the most relevant points that came from both discussions is that to a large extent whether or not to charge visitors a premium is a business rather than an ethical decision. That said, if you are going to charge tourists more, as a matter of simple courtesy and good business you should explain your reasoning and express your appreciation to the visitors for making it possible to maintain attractions that everyone, visitors and locals alike can enjoy.
For most effectively making this point and explaining how these issues are dealt with in France the bag of coffee goes to Emily Lemoing whose comment was posted on June 1 at 11:07 a.m. Costa Rica time.
I also want to thank the folks who brought up the subject. Differential pricing is so much taken for granted here that we tend to lose perspective. Once again, guest feedback has been vital to keeping us on the right track. I’m going to send them a bag of coffee as well.