Cali was, during the first quarter of this year, one of the five most visited cities in Colombia by foreign tourists and everything suggests that this dynamic will continue for the remainder of 2016.
According to Procolombia, a state agency that promotes tourism and investment, Del Valle’ capital received between January and June 2016 an amount of 80,260 tourists, 19.4% more tourists than the same time last year (2015.)
As reported by Procolombia, the main reason for the traveling was: taking a vacation, recreation or leisure time, followed by business tourism or attending events.
The main sources of tourists are the United States, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil, but also UK and Panama.
Such has been the welcome offered by the city, as reported by Óscar Guzmán – president of Cotelvalle- that the union of hoteliers in the region reported that 27% of people who were in attendance at the last “Festival Petronio Alvarez” were foreigners.
He also noted that 70% of foreigners who visit us in Colombia did so on the grounds of vacation and 15% for business or labor related issues. “We have to turn this situation to our benefit and we’re already working on it in Cali. Before, we handled 66% of corporate tourism and 34% for vacations. Today we’ve gained 4 percentage points in both types of tourism.” – He highlighted.
One of the most important aspects playing in favor of Cali’s tourism is connectivity. In this area, Colombia –nowadays- works with 25 airlines that operate more than 984 direct international flights every week to 26 countries in the world.
To Cali, for example, airlines like KLM, Iberia and American Airlines have regular flights.
A “post-conflict” Boom
Harold Lozada, president of the “association of travelling agencies” Anato, by its acronym in Spanish, confirms this uprising in local tourism.
“With the peace agreement and the post-conflict the city needs to be prepared, mostly in regards of the infrastructure to cope with the tourism “boom” that’s coming” – stressed the official.
In that sense, he insisted on the necessity of a bigger and better infrastructure, focusing on the secondary and tertiary roads that lead to the rural zones.
He noted, for example, the importance of building a look-out point and a better road to Cristo Rey and Las Tres Cruces.
The idea in the future is the construction of a cable-car transport system that would not only be used by foreign tourists, but by domestic visitors as well, just as they have in Medellin.
Medellin was the city with the biggest growth in tourism since last year with a huge leap of 48% from 105,000 tourists to 156,000.
Cartagena saw a jump of 25% while Bogota remained fairly consistent with a small increase of nearly 5% from last year, however Bogota remains the city with the greatest influx of tourists with 565,578 in the first quarter of 2016, more than twice that of Cartagena or Medellin.