Colombia's Expanding Tourism Industry

Data and statistics from the Administrative Security Department (DAS), the entity in charge of immigration information in Colombia, from 2004 to February 2010, foreign visitors to Colombia rose 42 percent from 790.000 to 1.370.000 people. Only in 2009, when world tourism fell at a rate of seven percent, the Colombian tourism increased by 10.7 percent, a total of 130,800 passengers more than the previous year.

The trend seems to continue at the beginning of 2010. The first two months of the year have shown an increase of 6.2 percent,an increase of  12.861 tourists compared to January and February 2009. As for the cities that visitors travel to, the figures show that the cities most visited by foreigners are Bogota, with a total of 48 percent of visitors, followed by Cartagena to Medellin with 14% and 8.5%, other cities like Cali, Barranquilla and San Andrés receive around 6% of the visitors.

Tourists come from different countries: United States still leads the list with 21.2 percent, followed by Venezuela with 14.1 percent and Ecuador with 8.1 percent. Travelers from Argentina and Peru have grown and by February 2010, they accounted for 6.3 and 6.4 percent of the total of foreigners traveling to the country.

The Future

Colombia has emerged as one of the most important tourist destinations in Latin America. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) for 2015 expects an annual growth of 4.5 percent in travel and tourism, reaching a total of USD $ 14 billion, this will exceed the projected growth for Latin America which is 4.1 percent, these numbers are also consistent with the projected tourism service growth done by the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

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