Cartagena, a colonial port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, has joined the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). COTELCO Cartagena, a chapter of Colombia’s hotel and tourism association, will represent the city to the CHTA, marking the CHTA’s 33rd destination and the first commercial association to join it in more than 15 years.
COTELCO Cartagena has 56 affiliated hotels and more than 4,000 hotel rooms, including brands such as GHL Hotels, Hilton, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Karisma Hotels and Resorts, Movich Hotels, Radisson Hotels and Resorts, Sofitel and Hyatt. The national organization, COTELCO Nacional, has 900 affiliate hotels throughout the country.
Cartagena was founded in 1533 and over the course of its history, its old, walled colonial city has repelled invaders and pirates alike. Today, its tourist attractions include its colonial architecture, coral reefs, the highest coastal mountain range in the world, and a wide variety of marine species and wildlife – including more than 1,900 types of birds, which officials say is the largest variety of avian life in the world.
Over the past year, a number of U.S.-based tourism suppliers have moved into Cartagena. For example, Pleasant Holidays and its luxury brand Journese opened sales last October for packages including the city as part of their first Colombia- and South America-based itineraries.
The admission of COTELCO Cartagena into the CHTA was unanimously approved at the CHTA's Board of Directors meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in January. During the larger Caribbean Travel Marketplace, former Colombia president Álvaro Uribe Vélez delivered a keynote presentation on how the Caribbean region can learn from the experience of the tourism industry in Cartagena and Colombia as a whole.