With the presence of 67 representatives from 27 countries participating in the city of Barranquilla in the seventh edition of ProColombia Nature Travel Mart (PNTM), Colombia seeks to expand its tourism offer of nature and adventure, a sector of the economy that is currently in full expansion.
Organized by ProColombia, the government agency that promotes exports, international tourism and foreign investment, 79 local entrepreneurs participate in the meeting whose mission is to explain the advantages of the Andean country as the second most biodiverse in the world and in species of butterflies, and number one in species of birds and orchids.
For the Vice President of Tourism of ProColombia, Gilberto Salcedo, the figures in this regard indicate that "the country is on track."
"We aim at the conquest of the high-cost tourist, a category that includes nature and adventure tourists, which, according to Adventure Travel Trade Association, spends $ 3,000 in an average stay of eight days," he said. the official during the installation of the event.
Before representatives of travel agencies in the United States, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea and the Netherlands, among other countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, Salcedo added that "in the slogan of making tourism the 'new oil of Colombia ', nature and adventure tourism plays a fundamental role. "
Mathieu Fort, a Frenchman dedicated to the promotion of adventure tourism through his company Motrip Go and who visits Colombia for the first time, told Efe that he is surprised by the large number of options that the country has in terms of landscapes.
"What surprised me a lot is that you pass from a landscape similar to the Alps and after three or four hours you find a more tropical area with coconuts and sugarcane, which is something very interesting," Fort noted when adding that the business prospects are wide after the signing of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC, now turned into a political party.
In his opinion, "Colombia is a destination that is increasingly fashionable for tourism in general and especially for adventure tourism in which you can explore the entire country with total security."
The Spanish Anthony Dorado, from rentalmotorbike.com, dedicated to the rental of motorcycles for adventure trips and that arrived in Colombia two years ago, told Efe that, thanks to the current situation in the country, "Colombia as a destination is in fashion".
"For about a year we have been in great demand and we have come in search of supply because we believe it will be one of the top destinations of the year 2020," he said, pointing out that the language issue makes it easier to bring Spanish tourists, but " there are also French, English, and even Germans interested in coming to Colombia. "
Hernán Darío Yépez, from Magic Tour Colombia, dedicated to offering tourism in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (north), the largest mountain in the world facing the sea, declared for his part that the indigenous enclave Lost City, built in stone and large Archaeological and tourist interest, "it is now a territory of peace of great attraction for foreigners and that has been strengthened for local providers."
"We have realized that the investments that have been made in promotion have served enough to interest foreigners, who know what it is like to live with local people in a camp, such as being guided by an indigenous person and learning from that culture," the businessman noted.
He said that thanks to promotional actions, more than 24,000 people visit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta annually, mostly foreigners, but with rapid growth in domestic tourism.
In that sense, one of the "jewels of the crown" is Caño Cristales, also known as the "most beautiful river in the world" for the seven colors that have its waters and is in the department of Meta (center).
Among the attractions, there is also the Serranía de La Lindosa, one of the few rock formations in the Colombian Amazon, with caves that hold pictographs of indigenous peoples over a thousand years old.
Diana Restrepo is a representative of the Río Selva travel agency, an entity that operates in the department of Putumayo (south), providing a service that provides direct contact with indigenous communities.
"We work with the Inga and Camëntzá communities with which we offer products made by them, which we combine with activities with bird watching and other types of nature tourism," he said.
In explaining how they have linked with the indigenous communities to the tourism project, Restrepo said they have supported them with guidance in the presentation of their products and services such as crafts, food, forest routes and musical expressions.
With this and other promotional events Colombia seeks to scale positions to overcome Chile and Peru as the first South American nations in terms of receiving foreigners.
The Government has indicated that Colombia aspires to increase the number of foreign tourists by 50%, up to six million visitors, compared to the 4.2 million it currently receives annually.
. (tagsToTranslate) Colombia (t) wide (t) tourist (t) nature (t) adventure