The department of Santander in northern Colombia planned to launch a three week program to promote domestic tourism to it’s capital city, Bucaramanga, and surrounding areas that are rich with natural, cultural, and gastronomical diversity.
According to the Tourism Sub-director of the Bucaramanga Municipal Institute of Culture and Tourism, the project “consists of creating showcase-style events, where in five Colombian cities we are going to show all of the touristic offers Santander and Bucaramanga have for their visitors.”
Tourism Sub-director Ibeth Juliana Niño explained, “we are going to spend one day in each city, in a renowned hotel, so that we can have all the ambiance of the destination and display stands from each of the businesses that are going to participate and show their products and [tourism] services.”
The goal of the project is to “strengthen domestic tourism promotion, and position Santander and Bucaramanga on the national level as a renowned tourist destination…basically what we are trying to do is attack the national market with this strategy.”
Ms. Niño said that “Bucaramanga and Santander have many special things. First, we have an immensity of natural wealth, not only in sports, adventure tourism, and general ecotourism. We have a rich culture, because many of the battles fought for Colombian independence were fought on our land…and of course, there is all of the cultural richness from folklore, music, and traditional dance, and an excellent and unique gastronomy…all of that is what makes us different and special.”
Organizers hope that the promotional tour will result in an increase in yearly visitors to the northern region of Santander during normal tourism seasons, as well as an increase in off-season visits from businesses and organizations that seek to hold conferences and meetings in Bucaramanga.
Although the tour focuses extensively on domestic tourism, the government of Santander encourages visitors from all over the world to take advantage of the opportunities available for travel throughout the department. With help from the Colombian Tourism Promotion Fund, Santander is currently in the process of developing a more-inclusive plan for developing tourism in the region, and there is plenty of information on Bucaramanga available in English online.
The tourism promotion project was developed by the Bucaramanga Municipal Institute of Culture and Tourism, IMC, and the Government of Santander. Over half of the cost of the project is being financed by the Colombian Tourism Promotion Fund, with a donation of over $50,000 dollars.
“All of these activities have allowed us to understand that by working together in the public and private sector, we can accomplish great things for our department and our city,” Niño concluded.