In 2014, Colombia Received 14% More Foreign Visitors

The number of foreign visitors to Colombia have been increasing every year over the past decade and in 2014 the country saw the biggest growth in several years. According to recent statistics released by the country’s trade ministry the number of foreign visitors to Colombia (visitors who are not residents) grew 14% in 2014.

If Colombian’s who are not residents of Colombia are included plus cruise ship passengers are also included, the total count increases to 2,879,543 total visitors to Colombia in 2014, which is up 11% over 2013.

Foreign Visitors to Colombia (Source: Trade Ministry)The tourism growth in Colombia is much faster than global tourism growth, which grew 4.7% last year according to the World Tourism Organization. It is also faster than the average tourism growth in all of South America, which grew 5.7% last year. Over the last two years, Colombia’s tourism growth rate has outpaced the global and South American tourism growth rates.

According to Cecilia Alvarez-Correa, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism:

This is an achievement of all. Tourist providers have made ​​significant efforts and investments to strengthen our tourism

Tourism in Colombia has grown by over 260% since 2002 when about 540,000 foreigners visited the country. Colombia is looking to grow its tourism industry even more with a goal to bring in $6 billion in revenue from tourism in 2018.

Colombia has been making big efforts to position its image as a world-class international tourism destination with results already visible; the numbers of foreign visitors to the country have been on a steady rise.

Over the past several years, the most popular city for foreigners to visit in Colombia was Colombia’s capital and largest city, Bogotá, with over 50% of visitors. Cartagena came in second with about 11% of visitors and Medellín came in third with about 10% of visitors.

The Bottom Line for Medellín

Medellín is becoming a popular tourist location particularly for its Christmas lights display known as El Alumbrado in December and early January as well as the Medellín Flower Fair known as Feria de los Flores in August.

Like much of Colombia, Medellín is a city that is dramatically misunderstood. Yes, the city was once the homicide capital of South America, but that was a long time ago. The city has cleaned itself up with a homicide rate that is now lower than some cities in the States, while also becoming a vibrant, welcoming place for travelers.

With all the positive press that Medellín has been receiving over the past few years we expect that Medellín will continue to grow its number of tourists each year, possibly at a faster rate than Bogotá or Cartagena. Here are some samples of the positive press:

2015 – listed in – Top Travel Destinations for Your 2015 Bucket List

2015 – Let’s all move the Medellín! How a once-terrifying drug city reinvented itself as a tech hub

2014 – Medellín’s Comeback – The transformation of Colombia’s second city will be hard to copy

2013 – Medellín A Great Place to Retire

2013 – Why Medellin, Colombia is a Great Place to Retire

2013 – Most Innovative City in the World.