Colombia’s tourism sector continues to expand and attracts foreign investment; however, the nation falls behind fellow Latin American countries in terms of numbers of international visitors, said Colombia’s Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Sergio Diaz-Granados.
In 2001, 1.7 million foreign travelers came to Colombia. Ten years later that number increased to 2.8 million. By the same comparison, tourism revenues were $1.5 billion in 2001, and grew to $2.8 billion in 2010.
However, internationally, Colombia only ranks 77th on the list of top tourism destinations. Its goal is to enter into the top 50 by 2014.
“Colombia is still far below its potential below Mexico, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Chile in international tourist arrivals,” Diaz-Granados explained.
In terms of international visitors, Colombia had 2.7 million in 2010, while the Dominican Republic had 4.1 million, Brazil had 5.1 million, Argentina had 5.2 million, and Mexico had 22.3 million.
One of the obstacles Colombia faces is its ability to support an influx in tourism in terms of its airports. “Colombia is the fourth country in the world in terms of number of airports, but that does not mean that all are of good quality,” said Colombia’s minister of commerce, industry, and tourism.
Overall public investment in the tourism sector from 2002 to 2006 was $33 billion, which increased to nearly eight times more between 2006-2010 to $263 billion.
Colombia’s 2014 goals include increasing productivity of tourism businesses, converting Colombia into a world class tourist destination, boosting the domestic market, and improving international competitiveness.