Colombia Keeps Rolling

It was three years ago, when the annual TravelMart LatinAmerica was held in Cartagena, that we knew Colombia would soon be a tourism hot spot. But we’re not sure anyone could’ve predicted that the country would get as hot as it is today. And it seems as though we shouldn’t expect that momentum to slow down a bit anytime soon.

“In the past few years Colombia has worked extensively in improving the competitiveness of the destinations and the different tourism products, as well as in closing the existing gap between the perception many people have from the past decade and the current reality of Colombia,” Jaime Echavarria, director of Proexport USA, told Travel Agent.

From the new JW Marriott in Bogota to new flights and the country’s new agent rewards program, Travel Agent recaps the latest offerings to come out of Colombia.

On July 30, Marriott International celebrated the grand opening of luxury hotel JW Marriott Bogota, the company's second property in the country in less than a year.

InterContinental Hotels Group announced that it has signed an agreement with Colombia-based Espacios Urbanos S.A. to manage a new-build InterContinental property in Cartagena. Scheduled to open in early 2013, the 280-room InterContinental Cartagena will be located in the city's Bocagrande district – beachfront on San Martin Avenue – roughly two miles from the historic walled Old City and five miles to Rafael Nunez International Airport.

“New Hotels, better infrastructure, more flights and frequencies, and the return of confidence in our country have boosted tourism towards Colombia," says Echavarria. "In 2009, we received more than 1.5 million international visitors, an increase of 10.4 percent from the previous year, maintaining a steady growth."

Getting to Colombia is even easier from the United States with dozens of direct, nonstop flights from major American cities, such as Miami, New York, and Houston. One of the newest routes, from JFK to Bogota, on the Colombian airline, Aires, opened on June 25.

On July 30, highlighted Colombia's first Travel Rewards and Incentives Program (TRIP), launched in partnership with the Colombian Tourism Board and Travel Agent University.

“We will continue to work with our different partners worldwide and specially in the U.S to reach our 2014 goal of 4 million visitors,” says Echavarria, “to show the world that in Colombia the only risk is wanting to stay.”