Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism expects the country to receive 2.8 million visitors in 2010, a record figure representing an increase of 15 per cent over 2008.
This projected rise is based on the proportional increase of arriving travelers listing recreational and business purposes for travel in Colombia.
According to the Ministry, Argentina is one of the countries generating the highest number of visitors to Colombia, ranking 6th in the world in the period from January to June 2009. In the same period, Colombia received more than 638,000 visitors, a growth of 10.3 per cent over the same period in 2008.
Favorite Colombian destinations of tourists, in order of importance, are: Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and San Andres. Destinations that have grown most in the first half of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008 are Medellin (33.5 per cent), Bucaramanga (27 per cent), and Santa Marta (14.4 per cent).
The figures for January-June 2009 have reinforced the growth trend observed earlier this year, when official reports of the World Tourism Organization marked a growth in tourist arrivals of 7.5 per cent during the first two months of the year, contrasting with a 7.7 per cent decline of tourism worldwide.
Tourism is currently Colombia’s third largest export, behind oil and coal, according to Minister Luis Guillermo Plata.