The northern Colombian department of Santander has received a record influx of foreign tourists and investment, said Colombian export and tourism promoter Proexport.
A total of 27,463 international tourists visited Santander; with a reported 14,470 Venezuelans, 3,566 United States residents, and 1,290 Spaniards in 2010, according to a recent news release from Proexport.
In 2011, there were 13,466 tourists who came to Santander between January and June, which represented a 17% increase from the same time period in 2010. According to the promotion agency, the time period between November and December usually attracts the highest number of foreigners to the area.
Santander received record Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with a reported acumulation of $59.4 million dollars between 2000 and 2010, according to data from the Banco de la Republica. The most popular businesses for investment purposes in Santander, according to Proexport were holels, tourism, petrochemicals, agro-industry, and Information Technology (IT) services.
New businesses from abroad have made their way to the department as well, including the recent arrival of Chilean retailer Falabella, the Canadian firm Essential Energy, the Mexican movie theater chain Cinepolis, and a $4.5 million dollar investment in petroleum services from the United States.
Santander has also increased their export promotion, with a total of 87 countries receiving their products in 2010, the biggest consumers being the United States, Spain, Ecuador, Switzerland, and Mexico. They expanded their market abroad to 17 new markets in 2010, including El Salvador, China, and Costa Rica, reported Proexport.