Colombia seeks better air connectivity with India to promote tourism

Our 6 regions are like 6 different countries: Arturo Bravo
/ Madrid, Spain
Arturo Bravo
Colombia seeks better air connectivity with India to promote tourism

Arturo Bravo, Colombian Vice Minister of Tourism (Photo: India Outbound)

Though tourism to Colombia has staged a smart recovery in 2023 to reach 5.7 million tourists and mainly from its traditional markets, the South American country is actively seeking better air connectivity to develop new source markets like India, Arturo Bravo, Colombian Vice Minister of Tourism, tells India Outbound in an interview. Bravo adds that visiting Colombia and its different regions is like visiting six different countries.
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How was 2023 for Colombia tourism?

It has been a great year for Colombia. We have grown 26 pc as compared to last year and we are at almost 5.7 million visitors. So, it has been a very, very good year. In terms of recovery of the market, we are the number two in the world and we are very happy with the results.

Which are your main markets currently?

The main growth so far has come from our traditional markets like the United States, Europe, Mexico and other neighbours like Ecuador. Currently, we are focused on developing 14 of our biggest source markets. We want to focus more on India, but we are not focusing yet because we don’t have a direct flight. But this is something that could come later.

Which segment of the market is Colombia best suited for?

Colombia is growing in the leisure and corporate travel segments. We have four main products that is nature, culture, MICE and beach and wellness tourism. And of course, we have the Colombian Coffee Circuit and the landscapes where coffee is cultivated that has now been recognised internationally also by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Which are the other World Heritage Sites in Colombia?

We have many tangible and intangible heritage sites all over Colombia. For instance, the Barranquilla Carnival is one of the most famous intangible heritage sites and then we have the City of Cartagena, Los Katíos National Park, Santa Cruz de Mompox, San Augustin and Archaeological Park of Tierradentro are only some examples of our great heritage recognised by UNESCO.

These are sites with pictograms that are over 50,000 years old and these areas are huge in size. Also, a few weeks ago, an ancient village was discovered in our Amazon basin area and all these discoveries of heritage are bound to make tourism to Colombia even more interesting.

What are the main attractions for tourists in Colombia?

As decided by the President of Colombia, we have a very well-aligned model called ‘Colombia, the country of beauty’. We also want to use tourism to develop the economy of Colombia and the key aspects of this promotion are nature and culture. So, in 2024, we are mainly focussing on these two aspects. In Colombia, we have six regions which are like six different countries because Colombia is on the equator and you can go from snow in the mountains to a beach in just four hours.

Colombian Coffee Circuit

Cali which is on the Colombian Coffee Circuit is known for its landscapes with coffee plantations

We also have a lot of biodiversity. We have the Amazon on one side and the Pacific on the other, at a very short distance from each other. Then you have the Caribbean Sea and the inland countryside in the middle. So we have six countries in one very small country and where you can enjoy various dimensions of nature.

In terms of destinations, we have the capital Bogota and Cartagena is a main tourist destination on the Caribbean coast and then we have Medellin, which is a cultural tourism and community tourism city and it is also known as the city of innovation for business travel. Then we also have Cali which is on the Colombian Coffee Circuit and is known for its landscapes with coffee plantations.

What are your marketing strategies?

First, we attend a lot of international fairs to get a pulse of the market. Secondly, we turn to technology and we try to understand from the internet tools as to what are the people looking for when they search for tourism and based on these, we decide our priorities and then undertake activities, run campaigns and participate in trade shows and roadshows.

Which emerging markets are you looking at?

India is certainly one of the emerging markets that we want to develop and that is why we are trying really to get a direct flight because we move as direct flights come in, we actually move and and make a big investment in as soon as a direct flight starts. But India is definitely an emerging market for us and for many other countries.

I think we have a beautiful kind of cultural similarity with India. I think we are very like aligned with the way we talk, we eat and I think we are very compatible. I am just hoping we can do more business in the future.

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