British travel magazine Wanderlust ranked Colombian city Cartagena above Berlin, Germany and Venice, Italy in its top 10 city destinations to visit in 2012.
The voting took into account many factors, including the scenery and history of the nominated cities.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena is famous for its Caribbean location and its historic colonial architecture.
“The world is seeing Colombia in a different light,” commented the Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Sergio Diaz-Granados at the 2012 Anato tourism convention Thursday.
“This indicates that public and private efforts to showcase Colombia as a tourist destination are heading in the right direction,” he said, pointing out that Cartagena is high on the national government’s agenda to boost tourism, particularly by improving air connectivity, increasing the number of hotels and hostels, and restoring the city’s beaches and historical sites.
The Colombian government announced Thursday that the budget for tourist infrastructure would be raised from $120 billion to $240 billion in 2014. The funding would be used for a number of projects in cities across the country.
Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos announced that on April 1, the government will dismantle subsidies on gasoline and eliminate caps on air fares, both of which will encourage competition among airlines, subsequently lowering flight prices and increasing the variety of flight deals.
According to Diaz-Granados, Colombia is about to get another boost to the tourist industry as the London and Madrid National Geographic stores begin promoting it as an eco-tourism hotspot. Colombia is considered one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world.
Diaz-Granados said that all of these factors will help Colombia reach its goal of four million tourists by 2014.