All-inclusive luxury hotels, the American investors’ new bet in Colombia

26 February 2022
The firm Apple Leisure Group, a subsidiary of Hyatt hotels, chose Cartagena as a spearhead for their expansion in South America, and it’s exploring new opportunities in Santa Marta and San Andrés.

 

The potential of Colombia as new touristic destination keeps calling the attention of foreign investors, especially those coming from North America. In addition to new projects in the vacation and business segments, the country has gained prominence with investors in ecotourism, nursing homes and theme parks.

Now the establishment of all-inclusive luxury resorts (Endless Privileges, Unlimited Luxury, Unlimited Fun) is added, with the Dreams Karibana Cartagena Beach & Golf Resort, that will have 268 rooms, and expects to generate around 400 to 450 jobs in the medium term. 

The project is from Apple Leisure Group - ALG, the American hotel brand management group part of Hyatt, which chose Colombia for installing, for the first time in South America, the all-inclusive luxury hotels of its affiliate AMR Collection.  

According to Javier Coll, president of Global Development of Apple Leisure Group, the firm’s bet on Colombia is based on knowledge of the destination and its high potential for brand development. "Colombia is a point of convergence, is a great destination for generating traffic to the Caribbean from South America, and its proximity to the United States makes it attractive for travelers from that market that are even more attracted by locations such as Cartagena de Indias".

The company’s bet is to bring to Colombia all the portfolio brands, which is why the potential of other destinations such as Santa Marta and San Andrés is already being explored. 

 "We are pleased by this announcement from Apple Leisure Group that will strengthen the supply of all-inclusive luxury hotels in the segment of sun and beach for Colombia. The election of our territory as the first destination in South America to ever have an AMResorts affiliate, reflects the investors’ confidence in our country, because of factors like our economic recovery and growth, and the high potential of locations such as Cartagena for the attraction of global tourism", said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia, agency in charge of promoting exports of goods and services, attracting international tourism, and promoting the arrival of foreign direct investment in Colombia. 

Santoro added that the arrival of Apple Leisure Group to Colombia will increase the attraction of American and worldwide travelers, knowledgeables of the brand and the experience that the sun and beach segment offers.  "This is the kind of efficient foreign investment that we are looking for our territory, projects that will contribute to economic growth, job generation and the development of our touristic offer, which will also help us to showcase Colombia as a diverse and a world-class bleisure destination".  

Coll states that the Apple Leisure Group is the United States' most important touristic group, moving with its distribution network more than 3,2 million travelers annually. The group counts with its hotel brand management division, AMResorts® which master brand, AMR Collection™, owns six brands of All-Inclusive Luxury Resorts: Secrets Resorts & Spas, Dreams Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas, Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Sunscape Resorts & Spas and Alua Hotels & Resorts, and its tour operation division (with Apple Vacations, Cheap Caribbean, Blue Sky Tours Hawaii, Travel Impresions, Southwest Vacations, Funjet Vacations, United Vacations, Beachbound). Additionally, it has its own Destination Management Company, Amstard DMC, and its technological solution for the tourism industry, Tripset Solutions. 

With this new proposal, Apple Leisure Group of the all-inclusive luxury segment in the sun and beach niche joins the international brands present in the country from Europe and the United States, that have a varied hotel offer, particularly for the business and conventions segment. 

During 2022, Colombia is expecting a full recovery of the tourism industry, and it's been estimated a GDP of accommodation and food services of around COP $37,5 trillion, according to projections from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. The amount would represent an increase between 8% and 14% when compared to the same values in 2019, prior to the pandemic.  

Since August 2018 until December 2021, during President Ivan Duque’s term, ProColombia has accompanied a total of 33 initiatives that include projects of hotels for the vacation and corporate segment, ecotourism, nursery homes and theme parks, with investments estimated at US $481 million and that, according to the investors, its implementation will create around 4.100 local jobs.

 

Why choose Colombia for investing in hospitality and tourism infrastructure?

 

  • Colombia offers incentives and opportunities to invest in tourism and hotel infrastructure. Prior to the pandemic, between 2018 and 2019, around 62 hotels opened in different cities, adding approximately 6,400 rooms throughout the national territory.
  • Leading international hotel chains have arrived and invested in Colombia. These include Accor, Four Seasons, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Meliá, NH Hotels, Wyndham, and BlueBay Hotels, among others.
  • The economic growth law of 2019 offers a preferential income tax rate for hotels, theme parks, agritourism, ecotourism, and new docks.
  • Income tax in municipalities with less than 200,000 inhabitants will be 9% for 20 years and this incentive will be in effect until 2029.
  • For cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants, this 9% rate incentive will apply for ten years and will be in effect until 2023.

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