A new English language travel website on Colombia, claiming to do its best to improve the country’s image abroad, was launched Thursday.
The intention of the new site is to dispel concerns over safety in Colombia, while simultaneously promoting the wealth of tourism opportunities in the country, according to Peter Low, co-founder of the Latin Travel Guide.
“Many international visitors continue to stay away (from Colombia) because of outdated perceptions of the country’s security environment,” Low said. “We aim to help overcome these concerns by showcasing the best Colombia has to offer and by addressing some of the most persistent myths about the country abroad.”
The site is operated by a group of international writers and developers who aim to draw more tourists into Colombia: a focus which reflects the increased interest in the country from around the world.
A June 2013, report from the Financial Times indicated Colombia’s new global position as one of Latin America’s investment hotspots, and Avianca airline recently announced that they would begin the open direct flight route from Bogota to London, UK in July 2014.
Statistics released from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism state that the number of foreign visitors to Colombia rose by nearly 7% in 2013 to just under 2.6 million.
Speaking with Colombia Reports, Low mentioned his hope that Colombia’s inclusion in Brazil’s 2014 World Cup would also drive more tourism to the country. If a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the leftist rebel group FARC is reached in the near future, there’s no telling how many more international visitors will be tempted to visit Colombia.
The interface for the Latin Travel Guide is slick and user friendly, with drop down menus showing the country’s major tourist destinations, as well as potential locations and activities. The homepage features links to informative articles about Colombian culture, festivals, food and drink, plus more specific information and advice about money, visas, and safety.
Low explained to CR that the Latin Travel Guide differs to other Colombian tourism sites because of the personal touch. “Our writers have lived here in Colombia for a long time,” he said, adding that “the site is aimed at people who already have some kind of connection to the country – be it through a friend or a fellow traveler they’ve talked to.”
The key factor in the launch of a new Colombia tourism website, though, is that Low’s target group are would-be tourists who are already willing to think differently about the country. “We’re not exactly fighting against a tide anymore,” he said.