The most important trade fair in Colombia’s tourism calendar opens Wednesday in Bogota.
Organized by the Colombian Association for Travel and Tourism (ANATO), the annual Anato Tourism Showcase is expected to host some 700 exhibitions from 33 countries this year in the Colombian capital, along with 30,000 industry professionals. Experts have estimated direct new business gains of $150 million from deals made over the course of the three-day event.
According to Vice-Minister of Tourism Sandra Howard, “The Government is making a real effort to improve the conditions of our destinations because we truly want the tourist experience to be as positive as possible whilst creating the framework for sustainable tourism.”
“We are committed to the promotion of tourism as a development factor as well as a key generator of employment in this country,” said the official.
Promoting the central-western Colombian state of Tolima will be one of the focuses of this year’s conference, with states such as Aruauca, Putumayo, Caqueta and Casanare participating for the first time.
Under the slogan “Colombia open to the world,” the event will feature exhibitions, presentations, discussion groups and other draws, in the hopes of bolstering international business relations and encouraging tourism commerce.
Proexport, a publicly funded publicity firm charged with generating investment, tourism and exports, will hold a business roundtable reportedly set to bring together 358 international buyers from 47 different countries, a 29% increase from last year. Of those 47 countries, many — such as Belarus, Finland, India, Portugal, and Lithuania — are also first-time participants.
The round-table opens more direct channels of communication between international companies and different Colombian states, the most represented being Cundinamarca, in central Colombia, with 115 companies, and Bolívar, in northern Colombia, with 64.
Paula Cortes, the president of Anato, the Colombian company that sponsors the conference, told El Tiempo newspaper, “Colombians are beginning to travel around the country and foreigners are starting to see us as an interesting destination.” In the last 10 years, she said, the number of foreign visitors to Colombia has increased by 134%.
According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), tourism is one of the most important labor sectors in Colombia, employing at least 1.5 million people.
More than 300 accredited news sources are expected to attend the event, as well, with both national and international journalists in attendance.
The conference opens at noon on Wednesday, with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos set to deliver the opening remarks.
- Abre hoy en Colombia Vitrina Turística Anato 2014 (Prensa Latina)
- “Colombia Abierta al Mundo” (Vitrina Turistica)
- Mas de 30 mil contactos comerciales se espercan en la vitrina turistica de ANATO (ANATO)
- Colombia se mostrará a través de la vitrina turística Anato (Vanguardia)
- Vienen 32 países interesados en comprar turismo colombiano (El Tiempo)