Colombia targets $4 tourism revenue through T & T

Published on : Tuesday, December 10, 2013

download11-300x137The Colombian Government has set a target of earning US$4 billion in foreign exchange through tourism in 2014 and T&T is one of the countries from which it hopes to attract visitors. As part of that strategy, Proexport Colombia, the agency responsible for promoting the country’s foreign investment, international tourism and non-traditional exports, launched the country’s new tourism campaign, Colombia is Magical Realism, at a networking event at the Colombian Embassy in Port-of-Spain last Wednesday evening.

“The message has switched from just coming to visit Colombia, to coming for an unforgettable magical experience,” Carlos Gonzalez, executive director-Caribbean, Proexport Colombia, told the Sunday Guardian. He explained that the campaign has specific objectives, including increasing visitor arrivals to the country, generating investment opportunities through Colombia’s tourism infrastructure, create employment and promote the country on the same level as other competitive destinations.

Gonzalez said the decision was made to focus on Colombia’s unique experiences after a study was done to determine the differential factor that motivated foreign tourists to choose the country as their vacation destination. The words magical, unique and surprising were the words frequently used by visitors to describe their Colombian experience and that set the tone for the new tourism brand.

Magical Realism evokes the literary genre that Colombia’s Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, used in his stories that blended reality with magic. It also consolidates previous campaigns which have changed people’s perceptions and shown the charms of Colombian tourist destinations, as well as progress in terms of security and stability.
Gonzalez said the campaign shows that Colombia was nature (agri-tourism, birdwatching and whale watching); adventure (scuba diving and extreme sports); sun and sand; boating experiences (sea and river cruises); culture (religious events, fairs, carnivals, archaeological sites); and it is also a destination for business (conventions, congresses, events).

Data from the World Tourism Organisation and Migracion Colombia shows that foreign tourism grew at an average rate of 10.4 per cent from 2005-2012—three times higher than the global rate for the period. The new campaign was launched last April by Proexport president Maria Claudia Lacouture and is currently being introduced throughout the Caribbean.

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