Colombia’s goal is to increase tourism, hoping to attract 4 million visitors in 2014, the country’s outgoing trade minister said Thursday.
According to Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados, the country has invested substantially in infrastructure projects to support a further growth of the tourism industry over the next year.
The 4 million includes Colombian nationals visiting their native country from their residence abroad; In 2012, Colombia received some 1.6 million foreign visitors.
FACT SHEET: Colombia’s tourism statistics
Pointing to $1.64 billion investment leading to 100 national projects over the course of the past four years, Diaz-Granado said tourism has become a priority for the Colombian government.
Tourism, said Diaz-Granado, “is a sector that demonstrates the change of image Colombia has had, because of this the Colombian government will continue forward making the country attractive for four million foreign visitors in the next year.”
Diaz-Granado attributed security gains made by Colombian government as driving force of tourism in the country: “Many who once considered it risky to visit Colombia, are now regular travelers.”
Responsible for the developing the tourist industry in Colombia will be ex-beauty pageant star from the island of San Andres and former manager at Caracol Radio, Sandra Howard Taylor, recently appointed as vice-minister of tourism by President Santos, who has made tourism a priority of his administration.