Colombia is committed to environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism

02 November 2022
From November 7-9, the most biodiverse country in the world per square kilometer will participate in the London fair, with a delegation of 20 companies supported by ProColombia and led by the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism. The focus will be on promoting environmentally friendly and socially responsible tourism that promotes lasting peace in Colombia.

Sustainability in tourism is no longer a trend; it has become a requirement. Sustainability is part of this sector’s road map in Colombia, which is represented by a delegation of about 20 companies at WTM—the United Kingdom’s leading tourism fair. These enterprises specialize in tourism that respects and protects nature and local communities, while establishing standards for contemplating, comprehending, and conserving biodiversity, as well as ideals for co-creating, connecting with, and preserving Colombia's ancestry and cultural expressions. The delegation is led by ProColombia—the government agency that promotes tourism internationally—and the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism. Nature and adventure tourism are two booming sectors for the UK market.

Colombia is synonymous with life, as it is home to 10% of the planet's biodiversity. The country has the most species of birds, butterflies, and orchids in the world, and it is the only South American country with coastlines along two oceans.

Visiting Colombia is like traveling to six countries in one, since travelers can visit the six different tourism regions the country has to offer: Greater Colombian Caribbean, Colombian Eastern Andes, Colombian Western Andes, Colombian Massif, Colombian Pacific, and Amazon – Orinoquía.

After many years of invisibility, it is now time for the different regions to shine. They take center stage in the landscapes of a country made up of large regions that transcend physical spaces to become, above all, symbolic references, ways of relating to each other, a network of beliefs, and places that build identity and a culture of peace.

The strategy of having six tourism regions has also made it possible to highlight emerging regions that have been transformed by peace into very attractive destinations for international travelers. Some examples include Caño Cristales, Chiribiquete, San José del Guaviare, and San Agustín, in the Colombian Massif

Due to this immense biodiversity, the country has published the first Manual of Endemic Butterflies of Colombia, a scientific publication produced by the Natural History Museum of London, with the support of ProColombia. This is the first publication that compiles detailed information on the more than 200 species of endemic butterflies of Colombia, which represent 20% of the world’s butterfly species. During the fair, Blanca Huertas will be appointed as Colombia Country Brand Ambassador. Huertas is a Colombian researcher at the Natural History Museum in London and director of the scientific team that has been working on the project since 2018. This recognition also acknowledges the millions of Colombians who work tirelessly to showcase what Colombia has to offer by being passionate about what they do. They are part of #LoMejorDeColombia (the best of Colombia).

Additionally, the agency has recently promoted two other manuals: Contemplation, Comprehension, Conservation: An Illustrated Handbook for Nature Tourism Guides in Colombia

This editorial project is led by ProColombia, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The document presents information on Colombia’s natural heritage in a didactic, aesthetic, and accessible way.

Co-Creation, Connection, Conservation: An Illustrated Handbook for Cultural Tourism Guides in Colombia

This editorial project is also led by ProColombia, with the support of the Ministry of Trade, and presents information on Colombia’s cultural heritage in a didactic, aesthetic, and accessible way.

Regarding community-based tourism, the first version of the Meaningful Travel Map has already been created.

Currently, the United Kingdom is ranked fifth in Europe for outbound tourism to Colombia (19th in the world in 2021). The most-visited cities are Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Cali, and Barranquilla. 79% of these travelers have stated vacation, recreation, and leisure as their main reason for visiting. The winter holiday season boasts the highest arrival rates for these visitors, with additional peaks in the month of July.

Tourism continues to be the leading non-mining and non-energy sector in generating foreign revenue in Colombia. In 2021, this sector registered US $3.101 billion—an increase of 59.5% compared to 2020—surpassing coffee exports, which reached US $3.091 billion.

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