Colombia is putting years of instability behind it as it welcomes tourists in increasing numbers.
Anthony Pearce sat down with Flavia Santoro, president of Colombia’s national tourism agency, at the most recent London World Travel Market to learn what’s drawing British tourists to this South American country, and what’s on their must-see list when they arrive.
There was a 5 per cent increase in British tourists to Colombia in 2018. What’s driving that growth?
We are increasing our connectivity and our tourism infrastructure has been growing. The experience that you’re going to have in Colombia can be multicultural, multi-diverse; we are the second in the world for biodiversity, you can have different experiences depending on what you’re looking for. We’re a destination for nature, adventure, sports and culture. We can show you we have great weather – we are a country of regions. You can experience the Caribbean region, the Pacific region, the Andean region. In Colombia, we have something that is unique: that is the Colombian people.
Our international tourism campaign is called “Feel the Rhythm”. We are country that has more than 1,000 rhythms. We want to sing to the world the reasons why coming to Colombia is a great and diverse experience – diverse in nature, diverse regions, diverse people. The growth is also down to [new] stability. And I will say we are very privileged with the geographic location and nature.
Where do Brits visit?
Brits go to the capital, Bogata. It has won an award for being the best place in South America for meetings. Second, they go to Medellin, which is recognised for its innovation – it’s the capital of innovation. It’s where we launched the Center for Latin America for the World Economic Forum. It’s also the City of Eternal Spring, with springtime weather all year round.
There’s the coffee region too, Eje Cafetero, which is a very family-orientated destination, where you can see all the mountains and all the nature. After that, [British tourists go to] Cartagena. It’s a historic place and a very beautiful place. British tourists are also very much interested in birdwatching, and Colombia is a very fun destination for that.