Aiming to become the fifth key tourist destination on the continent, Colombia plans to step up its cultural and hotel offerings to attract thousands of foreign visitors in the coming Christmas and New Year season.
This year, one of the biggest attractions will Chicamocha National Park, where tourists come daily to enjoy the newly opened cable car which runs through the mountainous canyon area, reports SDP Noticias. The Tourism Ministry reported Tuesday that in just one week 19,000 people visited the huge ecological reserve, a figure expected to increase in December.
Travel agencies are busily preparing countless hotel and extreme tourism packages to help visitors enjoy the park, shortlisted as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.
In its attempt to make Colombia a key tourism destination in Latin America, the Ministry has been pushing Bogota as a cultural and culinary hotspot.
According to data collectors Proexport, some 400,000 foreigners have visited the Colombian capital so far this year, attracted by the Botero Museum, the colonial neighborhood of La Candelaria and the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral.
Hoteliers are also pushing the Caribbean cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta as key Colombian attractions. The northwestern city of Medellin is also being noted for its famous fat Botero statues, Cali for its salsa, and Manizales for its bullfighting.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism in 2010 expects to make Colombia one of the most visited countries in the region, with four million foreign tourists.
For Minister Luis Guillermo Plata, the revival of tourism in Colombia “means more rapid redistribution of income in different areas of the country, and greater employment, especially in times of economic crisis.”