International visitors to Colombia have increased by 12% in the first quarter of 2014, with more than half a million visitors this year to date, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Santiago Rojas Arroyo said there were 589,033 international arrivals up to the first quarter, on track to reach the four-million mark by the end of 2014.
Of the 521,593 international visitors to Colombia in the first quarter of 2013, the total is divided into those who arrived by air and land (409,833), and cruise ship passengers (111,760). The first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013, saw a dramatic increase of 11% in travelers arriving by air and land (456, 311), and an even more impressive increase of 16% in cruise ship passengers (130, 722) entering the country.
Of all international arrivals to Colombia in the first quarter of 2014, 18.4% were from the US.
Visitors to Colombia 2011 – 2014
Colombia no longer a well-kept secret
Colombia’s tourism industry historically suffered due to the threat of armed conflict, making it lag behind its Latin American neighbours in attracting travellers. Due to remarkable improvements to personal security in cities such as Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena since 2002, Colombia has experienced an unprecedented increase in international visitors.
Medical tourism attracts high numbers of visitors to Colombia due to the reduced cost, and the quality of the surgeons and patient after care. In 2013 alone it brought 50k patients to Colombia.