Wednesday 26 January 2022

Gilberto Salcedo Ribero

What makes Colombia the next ecotourism hotspot

DUBAI, November 30, 2021

By Gilberto Salcedo Ribero

Tourism is one of the growing economic sectors of Colombia; it managed to attract millions of visitors to the country, thanks to its welcoming people, numerous festivals, creative culture, and biodiversity.

Ecotourism is now seeing an upward trajectory and is poised to be a key growth sector as the country focuses its initiatives on sustainable tourism. The country is taking the lead in advocating responsible tourism as its natural landscape serves as a primary appeal.

It is home to myriads of flora and fauna species, with its lush rainforests, sandy beaches, and breathtaking mountain ranges, which make it perfect for nature and adventure tourism activities. Environmentally conscious travellers can enjoy low-impact ecotourism and adventure travel in the country’s almost 60 national parks. These natural parks are protected by government policies and local communities, making the country a home to the rarest birds in the planet and attracts bird watchers.

Colombia’s location provides visitors a range of natural options and as a land of diversity, it has a place for everyone. The department of Chocó offers a blend of rich forests, breathe-taking rivers, and magnificent beaches, and will charm visitors with the Afro-influenced musical folklore. Meanwhile, the vastness of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains welcomes tourists who wish to experience the rich culture of various indigenous communities while basking in the serenity of world’s most elevated coastal mountain formation.

Orinoquía, known as the Wild East of Colombia, offers tourists an experience of hacienda life, watch cowboys on horseback, and enjoy some of Colombia’s magnificent river that wind through the region’s thick jungle. The region’s Serraniade la Macarena is filled with rivers, waterfalls, cliffs and hot springs.

Colombia has emerged onto the travel scene with its diversity and pristine nature yet untouched by mass tourism This makes it perfect for tourists who are looking to reconnect with nature as well as for researchers who wish to conduct studies into the nation’s rich biodiversity.

Another key driver to the booming ecotourism is the strong support and involvement of the government in protecting the natural environment and empowering the local sector. In 2020, the Future of Tourism Coalition, a community of businesses, government agencies, and organizations, was established with goals to create and adopt eco-friendly practices, protect cultural and natural heritages, and contribute to the socio-economic development of local communities.

According to statistics from the Colombia Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Colombia welcomes about 6.5 million visitors from various nations each year. The figure demonstrates that Colombia has emerged as a prominent tourism destination in the area.

The country’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism also created a biosafety seal, the first of its kind in Latin America, as part of its bid to reactivate the tourism industry and reassure visitors of a safe travel in Colombia.

All these, and so much more, are being showcased and promoted at Colombia’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai. The facade of the nation’s pavilion itself reflects the country’s rich biodiversity, warm people, diverse culture, and creative economy in a bid to attract more tourists from the Middle East and other regions. The Latin American country also brings forth a strong portfolio of investment opportunities as it seeks to strengthen trade relations with the UAE. The trade between the two countries has grown by 21 per cent over the last four years, and the world expo is a major step in taking this into a new level.

Other than tourism, the nation is also an attractive investment destination in other sectors including financial technology (fintech), business process outsourcing (BPO), agriculture, mining, and information and communications technology (ICT). Colombia’s Expo 2020 Dubai experience is a guaranteed booster to the increasing inflows of investments.

About the author: Gilberto Salcedo Ribero is Vice President of tourism at Procolombia


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