Colombia is Booming in a Hurry

PATAGONIA, ChileTravel Agent began making the rounds Thursday morning for the first full day of TravelMart Latin America 2009 where we learned of Colombia’s ongoing success in tourism.

We spoke with Camilo Duque, tourism specialist for Proexport, Colombia’s tourism board. Duque told us that Colombia has seen roughly 25 new hotels in the last four years and nearly 10 in the last year alone. Duque added that the pace is not expected to slow down any time soon. In fact, the destination, which had 7,000 rooms open in the last four years, is expected to open another 7,000 rooms in the next two years.

Colombia’s cruise industry is also growing fast with 195 calls in 2009, compared to just 23 in 2002. In fact, arrivals in general have grown from 500,000 visitors from 2002-2003 to 1.5 million in 2009.That number is expected to grow as the presence of U.S.-branded hotels increases. Specifically, Marriott, Hyatt, Holiday Inn Express and Sonesta all have either already opened or have plans for expanding throughout Colombia.