The slogan “Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay” has increased the number of foreign visitors coming to Colombia, Proexport’s director in London asserted in an interview with newspaper El Universal.
Proexport’s London office director, Juan Guillermo Perez, explained that for many years Colombia had a very negative image of violence and drug-trafficking and Proexport wanted to try and change that perception. “We knew that Colombia was related with the word ‘risk’ and we decided to use this word in a positive sense, with the slogan,” the official explained.
Perez argues that since they began using the phrase, tourism has increased, as well as foreign investment, from around $2 million in 2002 to roughly $13 million in 2010. He explained that before 2002, they had not been concentrating on promoting tourism in Colombia and in 2005 they had decided to create a country brand in order to demonstrate to the rest of the world what Colombia really is.
Proexport had first used the slogan “Colombia is passion,” based on survey data of Colombians, but later “we realized that we needed a more powerful concept and that this slogan was not sufficient for powerful promotion.”
They then created a campaign with the “risk” slogan, with the strategy of not trying to sell anything, “although we do know that we have a rich biodiversity, precious beaches, and very flavorful coffee, and many things to promote,” the director said.f
Perez went on to emphasize that when people travel “they are not looking for paradise, they are looking for an interesting history, exciting, but not a paradise- they want to experience something.”
“We didn’t want to present Colombia as a paradise, we wanted to present the real life of our country,” he concluded.