Colombia ranked 72 out of 133 countries in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009 released by World Economic Forum on Wednesday. Colombia dropped one and three places compared to 2008 and 2007 respectively, albeit with a different total number of countries surveyed in those years.
The World Economic Forum’s survey focuses on a variety of indicators gathered from publicly available sources, international travel and tourism institutions and experts, as well as opinion surveys, by leading research institutes and business organizations.
According to the report, last year the tourism industry generated 5.9 and 5.3 per cent of the total GDP and total employment figures respectively.
In 2008 Colombia received 1.121 million international tourists who spent approximately USD 1.669 billion. This is an increasing trend that commenced in the year 2003, after a rapid decline 8 years earlier, and has been steadily rising since. However, passenger numbers are yet to reach the high of 1.5 million in 1995.
The survey forecasted this growth to remain at 4 per cent in the following years, although the world economy slump is expected to impede such growth from materializing.
The indicators are grouped in 14 pillars. This broad number of indicators is important because it assesses the impact that different sectors such as Transparency of government policymaking and Cost to start a business have for the sustainable growth of the Travel and Tourism Industry.
The pillars where Colombia showed the least favorable scores were Safety and Security and Ground Transport Infrastructure. In terms of the former pillar Colombia is placed 118 or over in indicators such as Business costs of terrorism, Business costs of crime. In terms of the latter pillar Colombia ranked 91 or over in the quality of its roads, railroad infrastructure and port infrastructure.
However, not all the pillars illustrate a gloomy scenario in the Colombian Travel and Tourism Industry. According to the survey Colombia presents competitive advantages in various indicators, especially in the Natural and Cultural resources pillars.
In terms of Natural resources Colombia is placed second in the Total known species (mammals, birds, and amphibians). The country is twelfth in Protected areas and 23rd in the Number of World Heritage natural sites. In terms of cultural resources is worth noting the country’s 33rd place in the Number of World Heritage cultural sites. Moreover, 87 nationalities can visit the country visa-free, placing the county in the 14th spot.
Despite historic problems for the country in the traditional areas of infrastructure and security Colombia presents a bright future due to its natural and cultural heritage. And with the human potential that is found in every corner of the country the future is bright, very bright indeed.