Approximately 60,000 Colombians will accompany “Los Cafeteros” to Colombia’s first World Cup appearance since 1998, according to the national travel officials.
The Colombian Travel Agency Association (ANATO) announced Wednesday that Colombian soccer enthusiasts began booking packages for Brazil several months in advance, reported Caracol Radio.
“Lots of people are going to leave Colombia for the World Cup, it is estimated that around 60,000 people are going to leave in the coming days for Brazil. Of course travel agencies sold packages with anticipation to families who are going to accompany [the Colombian National Football Team],” said ANATO President Paula Cortes.
|“Lots of people are going to leave Colombia for the World Cup, it is estimated that around 60,000 people are going to leave in the coming days for Brazil.”|
Initially, concerns had been raised that national travel would be affected by the international soccer tournament, which coincides with many Colombians’ annual vacation time. According to Cortes, however, the surge in international travel won’t mean a loss for domestic tourism.
“There won’t be a problem with the national [tourism] traffic,” she said.
Instead, Cortes, speaking in front of over 600 travel agents at the National Travel Agency Congress, said that the summer should continue a positive trend in the national industry that has seen travel to Colombia grow at above the global average.
With just over a week before the start of soccer’s most prestigious tournament, World Cup fervor is reaching a peak in Colombia, which hasn’t fielded a team to the cup since France in 1998.
After a successful qualifying campaign, Los Cafeteros are ranked fifth overall internationally by FIFA, and expectations are high heading into the team’s first game next Saturday.
Colombia has group stage matches in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, and Cuiaba against Greece, the Ivory Coast, and Japan, respectively.