The whole world has been keeping an eye on Colombia in recent years. The hope generated by the peace process and greater investment in tourism are just two of the reasons behind this. The President of the Colombian Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism (ANATO), Paula Cortés mentioned that: “the change in the perception of the country because of the peace process led to higher foreign investment, and new airlines have been promoting the entrance in operation of more routes and more frequent flights”, which has favoured tourism development in Colombia.
The figures also reflect this growth, with almost 3 million foreign tourists visiting the country from January to November 2018, according to the government body, Migration Colombia.
Colombia is growing at a rate twice that of international tourism: the increase last year was up 12%, while in the world it is 6%, according to the World Tourism Organization.
Gustavo Toro, the Executive President of the Hotel and Tourism Association of Colombia (COTELCO), stated that: “the tourism sector has risen above the total growth of the economy”. And he also mentioned that the sector’s GDP has grown by 3.3% in the last two years.
The Colombian government has not officially established the number of foreign tourists in 2019. However, the Vice Minister of Tourism, Juan Pablo Franky, has set the goal of attracting 500,000 more to add to the estimated 4.5 million travellers at the close of this year. To achieve this goal, Colombia has needed to work on improving air connectivity, given that the country’s airports are the main gateway for international travellers.
“We’re pleased that Viva Air has started to fly the Santa Marta-Miami route. American Airlines opened a route between Pereira and Miami. We’re looking to support new initiatives to facilitate the arrival of international operators”, said Franky.
In this regard, Cortés Calle stated: “We must facilitate procedures and burdens for entrepreneurs, we can’t continue competing with unreliability. If this target can be reached, our companies and expanding market will be able to create more jobs”.