Who is Who

Adriana Acosta

Adriana Acosta Rivas is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with extensive experience in leading multidisciplinary teams and managing brand strategies for both mass and premium consumer brands.

Currently, as the Director of Marketing, Communication, and Country Brand at Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica (PROCOMER), she spearheads initiatives to bolster Costa Rica's standing in global markets, emphasizing innovation, sustainability, and excellence.

Adriana's academic background complements her professional expertise, holding an MBA in Marketing from Universidad Interamericana de Costa Rica and a Bachelor's degree in Advertising & Communication from Universidad de Costa Rica.

Adriana Acosta on 10 Years of the Essential Costa Rica Country Brand

Costa Rica represents a fascinating study in blending sustainability leadership with effective country branding strategies. What is the secret behind their success in integrating these two critical aspects, and what vision guides their efforts? We had the opportunity to speak with Adriana in 2023 (here the interview), as a part of our broader Costa Rica Showcase.

Adriana, do you remember when you first heard about the Costa Rica country brand?

As Costa Ricans, we identify with the importance of our international positioning since we are very young. And our economy is strongly related to tourism and the export of products and services. We are proud of our small country that internationally has been recognized in different areas. So, when I first heard about Essential Costa Rica, it was like a natural feeling to love the brand and to identify with its values.

The Essential Costa Rica country brand is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. How has the country brand helped boost Costa Rica’s tourism, exports, and foreign direct investment over the years?

Essential Costa Rica was created to position our country as a destination for tourism, exports, and foreign investment. As a country brand, we must also communicate the values that we, as Costa Ricans, believe in every day and which are in our DNA: innovation, social progress, excellence, sustainability and Costa Rican origin.

Studies by Bloom Consulting reflect a solid and integrated brand in tourism and commerce, that’s why we can affirm that Essential Costa Rica is the country brand with the biggest growth in America. This impacts all the sectors in the country and our international positioning.

Our licensing program ensures that companies who export products and services meet the standards required to represent our country to buyers. And at the same time, Essential Costa Rica helps promote our exports internationally through advertising and publicity in key markets. And it is present at international trade fairs.

Right now, we are preparing the next ten years for Essential Costa Rica, considering the interests of the public and private sectors, and also international trends. We want to continue to communicate our uniqueness and maintain the strong position of Essential Costa Rica among other country brands globally.

What does the future hold for the Essential Costa Rica country brand, having become synonymous with ecotourism and sustainability leadership?

Costa Rica’s position internationally as a destination brand used to have a very strong tourism component. That’s because for more than sixteen years, our Costa Rican Institute of Tourism built a strong image of our country as a green and ecotourism destination, with very successful advertising campaigns.

But ten years ago, when we launched Essential Costa Rica as a brand, the idea was to offer added value to different sectors, not just tourism, but also exports, foreign investment, and culture. We wanted to tell the world that we are more than just one aspect (tourism).

Essential Costa Rica is not just about the country’s promotion but also focuses on the private sector needs, public policies, and citizen engagement. We want to build an identity of the country which reflects the values we promote to international and national targets.

Costa Rica won the City Nation Place Awards 2022 in the Best Use of Design category for capturing the country’s identity in its new biometric passport. How relevant is this for the country brand as a whole?

Costa Rica celebrated 200 years of Independence in September 2021, so this worked in our favour. It was a great opportunity to show the world that Costa Rica is always moving forward. The challenge we put on ourselves was to transmit the essence and values of Costa Rica to every corner of the world, through our new biometric passport.

We had to bring an entire country on board, collaborating with more than seven state institutions during the pandemic, while working with international regulatory entities on migration security issues and coordinating production for the passports. This was a huge task.

Costa Rica is recognized worldwide in different areas, and one of the many challenges we faced was deciding what represented us the most. And after much investigation, we chose to showcase four elements of the country as our essence to the world: our biodiversity, renewable energy, education and peace, and the talent of our people.

The results exceed our expectations. The national and international media publicity was extensive and we made it to the headlines because the new passport design represented the essence of Costa Rica. And our reach continues to increase every time a Costa Rican travels abroad.

The climate emergency is now a global concern, and countries are taking measures to reverse this negative trend. How is this affecting the Costa Rica country brand?

As a country, Costa Rica has been a pioneer in protecting the environment and living in harmony with nature. We are a small country, but we have 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity. 26% of our territory right now are protected because our country leaders had the vision to create laws to preserve our lands and oceans.

We are one of the first countries to execute green ideas into action, like our Payments for Environmental Services Program. We have been able to stop deforestation and reverse it. Today almost 60% of Costa Rica’s territory is covered with forests.

We are currently working towards becoming the first carbon-neutral country in the world and we can proudly affirm that 99% of the electricity we use every day is from renewable sources, mainly wind power.

What suggestions do you have for country and destination branding professionals who are seeking to renew their positioning efforts?

I suggest that professionals reevaluate the main message of the country brand, observe how other nations and cities may be talking about related topics, such as sustainability, and compare how your country communicates the message to the target audience to stand apart.

People want to be able to identify with your storytelling, especially when attracting visitors to your country. But there are also rational aspects you need to integrate, to appeal to investors.

Constant innovation is a must when you are developing a country brand.

It is also important to investigate the positioning of the brand among the citizens and if the country brand represents how they feel about the country and reflects their lifestyles, especially during these challenging times.


Established in 1996 under Law 7638, PROCOMER is tasked with enhancing Costa Rica's export and investment landscape through strategic coordination, technical and financial support, and promoting the nation's commercial interests globally. Its strategic purpose revolves around fostering inclusive and sustainable prosperity across Costa Rica by cultivating export diversification, supporting SMEs, and facilitating trade. In addition to these functions, PROCOMER also plays a crucial role in attracting foreign direct investment and coordinating tactics to bolster human talent in Costa Rica.

The agency's core values—Passion, Creativity, Purpose, Collective Talent, Integrity, and Agility—reflect its commitment to national development and efficient service. PROCOMER's strategic pillars focus on creating and consolidating exportable offerings, promoting 2.0 chains, simplifying procedures for traders, attracting foreign direct investment, and striving for institutional excellence, aiming to streamline Costa Rica's integration into global markets and enhance its economic footprint.

About Essential Costa Rica

"Essential Costa Rica" embodies the nation's unique ethos, transitioning from merely a destination to a comprehensive national identity. This nation branding emphasizes environmental stewardship, innovation, and the distinctive warmth of the Costa Rican people. Officially inaugurated in 2013 through strategic development and partnerships, it aims to elevate Costa Rica's profile globally across tourism, investment, and export sectors, promising excellence, sustainability, and innovation.

The brand's objectives include attracting foreign investment, promoting exports of high-value products, and drawing in selective tourism, all while fostering national pride and future-oriented brand communication.

Contact Adriana