Tampa Bay Export Alliance hosts successful mission to Costa Rica

April 21, 2016

Roughly 40 business leaders traveled to San José, Costa Rica for the Tampa Bay Export Alliance’s trade mission from April 12-15. The mission’s agenda focused heavily on export sales development. The United States is Costa Rica’s main trading partner, with roughly 40 percent of the country’s imports coming from our nation, and an important market for Tampa Bay.

Fourteen companies, ranging from manufacturing to engineering to health care, participated in the Gold Key program. This unique program arranged by the U.S. Commercial Service consisted of customized, one-on-one meetings with potential customers.

The companies had anywhere from 5 to 11 meetings with potential buyers over the multi-day sales mission.

“We made some sales while in the country and have a great opportunity to further expand our sales overseas,” said John Erik Savitsky, COO of 3 Daughters Brewing, a St. Petersburg-based brewery that went on the mission.

For Tampa-based Ambient Technologies, a provider of environmental, geophysical, and marine construction industry services, the mission was “a home run.” Mike Wightman, Principal Geophysicist and Marcelo Reis, Vice President of Marketing, said that the trip gave themthe opportunity to cultivate connections with customers in Costa Rica that we would never have met on their own.  “We have so much follow up to do,” Reis said. “I anticipate we’ll be doing a lot of work in Costa Rica.”

Leaders from local organizations like Port Tampa Bay and Tampa International Airport sponsored and participated in the mission to strengthen ties with partners in Costa Rica. The mission also included a tourism track, sponsored and led by Visit Tampa Bay and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. Santiago Corrada, President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, reported that his team met with over 100 travel professionals there and made great strides in selling Tampa Bay to Costa Rican tour operators.

Raul Alfonso, Chief Commercial Officer of PTB, said that the Costa Rica mission was “excellent and well-coordinated. The Costa Rican business leaders we met with are eager to do business with Port Tampa Bay, and we made significant inroads with several ocean carriers who were represented at the luncheon.”

The mission also included a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador S. Fitzgerald Haney at the home of Deputy Chief of Missions Robin H. Matthewman, a lunch with Port Tampa Bay with the goal of marketing the Port as a preferred partner for trade with Costa Rica, and a networking luncheon with the American Chamber of Commerce on a coffee plantation.

To view photos from the Costa Rica sales mission, please visit TBEA’s website.