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New JetBlue, Avianca Flights Could Turn Colombia Into Tourism Giant

March 31, 2008 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent

Joe Pike, in Cartagena, Colombia, last year

Joe Pike, in Cartagena, Colombia, last year

We told you so. Travel Agent first predicted tourism in Colombia would get big quick after we reported on our visit to Cartagena back in October.

And with JetBlue Airways’ tentative approval to fly to the country’s capital of Bogota from Orlando as well as the addition of 12 flights out of New York by Colombia’s flagship carrier, Avianca, it looks like we were on track.

According to a published report, the federal government earlier this month tentatively approved a deal that would result in the first nonstop flights between Orlando and South America in nearly a decade.

JetBlue Airways Corp. is set to launch nonstop flights from Orlando to Bogota. JetBlue was one of four U.S. airlines that won the right to begin flights to Colombia, as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sought to spread out a limited number of new flights between the two countries, according to the report.

Flight Plans
“We believe there is demand for high-quality, low-cost service to Latin America and will examine other international route opportunities as we continue to grow our network,” Bryan Baldwin, a spokesman for JetBlue Airways, told Travel Agent. “We’re delighted that the DOT agreed with our position that Orlando deserved to be the next gateway to Colombia. We anxiously await receiving the final order from the DOT so we can formalize our plans to launch the new service. We have no timeline set for a decision on beginning this new route. It’s premature without a final order from the DOT.”

Also, as of May 17, Avianca, Colombia’s flagship carrier, will be offering 12 weekly flights to travel from New York to Bogota with connections within Colombia and major cities in Latin America. Effective June 13, Avianca will offer new weekly flights from Washington to Bogota with connections within Colombia and major cities in Latin America.

Back in October, we told you to start pitching Colombia, specifically Cartagena, which is about 20 minutes from Bogota. And with these new flights, we expect there will be tons of money to be made from this hot spot.

Get images of Pablo Escobar out of your clients’ minds immediately, because neither Bogota or Cartagena is the Colombia that is often poorly portrayed on the big screen. Sure, there are dangerous areas, but both of these locations are stocked with beautiful landmarks from old churches to museums.

More Reasons to Visit
Plus, it’s cheap. You can stay at some of the most unique luxury boutique style-hotels for as little $150 a night. The destination is a great place for families, but start with older, more mature couples, or clientele who will appreciate history, culture and religion, as well as romantic restaurants such as Club De Pesca and El Santisimo.

The Colombia Tourism Board, whose official company name is Proexport, is planning to organize a handful of fam trips throughout the year. Contact Tourism Director Maria Claudia Lacouture at 305-374-3144 or [email protected].

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