A total of 397,433 international visitors arrived in Bogotá from January to July this year, marking a 10.1 per cent increase over the same period in 2008.
The Colombian capital is positioning itself as the destination of choice within the country for foreign visitors, and more are coming every day, reveals data by Proexport.
The places most frequented by international visitors are the Monserrate hill, the Gold Museum, the neighborhood of La Candelaria and the Botero Museum. And outside of the capital, the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral and salt mines of Nemocón are growing in popularity.
Bogota saw 51.7 per cent of the total number of foreigners; 768,090 in the first seven months of the year, according to the data.
Vice president of Tourism Proexport, Nubia Stella Martinez, said that this is a significant increase in tourism, contributing to the national economy, and demonstrates the positioning of Colombia as a destination with immense potential in this sector. She added that the encouraging figures show that the perception of Colombia abroad is changing, and that visitors have great interest in the diversity of the country.
Clara Lopez, government secretary of Bogota, said that the arrival of more tourists, coupled with the fact that this year Bogota topped the ranks as best Colombian city for doing business, shows that Colombia is doing well in cultural, security, and human rights issues.
“While here [in Colombia] we have a pessimistic view of the city in many respects, outsiders see us [differently]. Not that [we] wish to hide the problems, but we also want to highlight the good, to have a balance that will lead to improvement,” said Lopez.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism projected that the foreign earnings of Bogota, generated by tourism, this year would reach US$1.2 billion. The rate of construction in the hotel and commercial sector shows that Bogota’s annual growth is 23 per cent, with investment exceeding 800 billion pesos (approx. US$435 million), of which 300 billion pesos (approx. US$163 million) are earmarked for hotel projects in the city.
The enormous economic dynamism of Bogota, which amounts annually to US$50 billion, according to figures from National Planning, has, over the past ten years, made Bogota not only a major business center in Latin America but one of the most important tourist destinations in the region.