Colombia and China on Wednesday signed a “memorandum of understanding,” which the Andean nation hopes will encourage the arrival of more Chinese tourists to its shores.
The agreement, which was signed in Peking, makes Colombia an approved tourist destination for Chinese citizens and facilitate the entry of Chinese tourists into the country.
Although there are still obstacles in the way of maximizing the benefits from the agreement, such as no direct air link between the countries, Luis Guillermo Plata, the Colombian minister of commerce, industry and tourism predicted a “boost” in tourism.
“Colombia is making a huge effort to integrate with Asia, above and beyond the dialogue. We are taking decisive and definitive steps to achieve it,” explained Luis Guillermo Plata.
The memorandum follows Colombia’s decision to eliminate visa requirements for Chinese citizens in 2007, an initiative that was allegedly abused by travelers using the Latin American country as a bridge to immigrate to the United States.
The Asian giant is the fourth largest source of tourists worldwide, behind Germany, Britain and the United States and it is estimated that 65 million Chinese tourists will travel in 2012.
According to the Colombian Embassy in Beijing 4000 Chinese tourists visit Colombia every year, up from the 1500 three years go, El Tiempo reports. Colombia hopes the agreement will further increase the flow of Asian tourists.