According to Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Luis Guillermo Plata, the tourism sector grew 7% in the first semester of 2009.
Tourism was responsible for generating nearly US$2.5 million for Colombia’s economy in the first half of the year, which when compared with the US$2.26 million brought in during the same time period last year, represents a 7% growth. Plata announced the figures during the second meeting of competitive tourism, “Tourism Competes 2009” that ends today at the Metropolitan Cultural Center in Armenia.
“However, far from being satisfied, both the government and private sector need to keep working together to convert Colombia into a world class destination as well as to improve our infrastructure and service so that the traditional friendliness that characterizes our people come together efficiently,” affirmed Plata.
The growth represents a good sign for Colombia in a time of economic instability and decline for many countries. It is in accordance with Colombian security agency DAS’s quote of an increase of 8.9% in the number of foreign travelers during the first half of 2009.
This year the Tourism Promotion Fund has supported 25 of Colombia’s departments’ projects with more than COP41 billion.
The minister also noted the advances that the national government has made, signing 31 air agreements and memorandums. So far this year Colombia has signed air agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Singapore, and has improved existing agreements with Brazil, Costa Rica, and Aruba.
The competitive prices Colombia offers on its domestic flights thanks to an increase in frequency with 203 weekly routes to popular destinations like San Andres and Medellin also have played a role in the country’s growth, Plata pointed out.