Tourism and real estate, I believe, are joined at the hip here.
In tourism I see a number of factors at work. But in the end it really comes down to the issue that vacationers may not be percieving value in their trip to Costa Rica. Part of that is that the virtues of Costa Rica are over sold. Up here in Monteverde a common tourist complaint is that they didn't see any animals in the cloud forest. Partly this is because the tourist traffic chases them away. But if anyone really expects to see anything on a canopy "tour" they better go back to Disneyland where screaming doesn't bother the animated figures. In the end it doesn't make the beating you take getting up the bad roads worth the effort.
We do see widlife up here. Lots of birds, sloths...but not necesarily during the peak (dry) tourist season, or near the "reserves".
As far as tourism numbers go all I've have heard everywhere I go is that they are down. The 15% numbers I've seen are from last year. I haven't seen any claims for this year. I'm not sure what global tourism is like but issues like the terrible hurricane season in the US, the threat of bird flu pandemic, increases in air fare due to high oil prices and a failing adminstration in Washington that continues to beat the drum of terrorism can not be helping anyone. Prices that have doubled and tripled now make for poor value in many of the places here. Again it is about delivering value.
Real estate still has rising prices, or should I say asking prices. I'm dumfounded at the prices people will pay when you consider the lack of services, poor infrastructure, growing pollution and uncontrolled development that exist here. It's like buying a Maserati and running on bald tires.
I continue to live (and enjoy it) here because I've avoided buying overpriced real estate, by living in a neighborhood with great Tico friends, and by avoiding the gringoized communities that thieves love. My trips back to the US do not make me wish to return there to live.
Hopefully I've said enough here to draw many comments.