UK visitors to Costa Rica have jumped 8% from January to September and are set to continue to rise with the addition of a third weekly direct flight to the destination.

A total of 57,906 UK travellers visited Costa Rica compared to 53,700 over the same time period last year.

The UK is the largest source market from Europe.

BA has added a third weekly service to Costa Rica this winter from Gatwick to San Jose.

Costa Rica’s minister of tourism Mauricio Ventura said: “We’ve always had the product and the attractions but the problem we had before was the lack of direct flights. Now we have that the numbers have grown tremendously.

“The fact BA has added a third weekly flight this winter shows that people are liking what Costa Rica has to offer.”

He said Costa Rica has traditionally attracted couples and younger travellers but was becoming more of a family destination with parents wanting to show their children “nature at its best”.

Next year the destination will promote its “Wellness Pura Vida” strategy responding to the rising trend towards wellness holidays. It will combine traditional wellness techniques, activities, sports and local community outreach.

The Costa Rican Tourism Board and BA are planning to host a fam trip for 18 people in 2018.

Agents can win a place at one of three roadshows taking place straight after World Travel Market in Manchester, Glasgow and London.

Travel Weekly coverage of World Travel Market