Emerging Tourism in Colombia and the Business Opportunities That Follow

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Emerging tourism
Emerging Tourism in Colombia and the Business Opportunities That Follow
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The government of Colombia is currently engaged in a program to expand tourism throughout the country. They have recognized that for approximately every 20 tourists that visit a region, one full time job and at least 2 indirect jobs are created. Approximately 90% of the destinations that are being developed are in non-capital cities. The goal is not only to encourage the emerging tourism market but  local tourism as well, and to begin to provide opportunities of stable incomes to local residents of these areas.

In the past, conflict in Colombia has generated a lot of bad press and discouraged travel to Colombia. All of that has changed and is continuing to evolve for the better. The introduction of the democratic security and defense policy by former president Alvaro Uribe Velez has proven invaluable in the renewed growth of Colombia’s tourism sector. In fact, international tourism arrivals have grown at an average annual rate of about 10% since 2002. The truth is that Colombia is home to many unique and exciting attractions, and features numerous cities worth visiting and investing in. Cartagena, Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla, all offer fantastic tourism experiences.

Colombia is home to no less than eight United Nations World Heritage Sites, including the entire resort city of Cartagena. Cartagena was founded in 1533 by the Spanish commander Pedro de Heredia and has a rich history, which is reflected in the culture, architecture, and tourist attractions. Nicknamed the ‘Door to the Americas’, Cartagena is affordable, exciting and has some of the best coastlines in the world.

The capital city of Colombia, Bogotá, is the largest city in the country and one of the thirty largest cities in the world. With a population of about 7 million, Bogotá is often referred to as the Athens of South America. The region offers visitors everything they expect from a major city: a fantastic range of food options, access to amenities, plenty of shopping, and endless entertainment.

With its very rich and varied geography, which includes the Amazon and Andean regions, the Llanos, both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and the deserts of La Guajira, Colombia has major potential for ecotourism. Colombia has coastline, mountainous areas, tropical jungles, waterfalls and volcanoes.

If you are looking for interesting places where to start looking for new opportunities, here are two top places worth checking out:

Santa Marta:

A city perched on a beautiful Caribbean bay; Santa Marta is an important cultural and historical tourist destination. Proximity to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park make the city a nature tourism destination without equal. Santa Marta has a population of approximately 450,000. Featuring a booming tourism industry, great beaches, and perfect opportunities for adventure, Santa Marta has a couple of exciting attributes that would make any savvy investor’s mouth water. Santa Marta is highly under-developed relative to similar regions in Columbia. There are numerous proof-of-concepts just waiting to be applied in the ecotourism, hotel, and resort industries. The most interesting part about investing in Santa Marta is the complete lack of international brand presence. Simply offering familiar products to international tourists would be a unique opportunity.

Coffee Triangle:

Also completely devoid of international brand presence, the Coffee Triangle is a central region consisting of the departments of Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda, and is known for producing the best coffee in the world. Approximately 1.1 million people live in the Coffee Triangle. This could be the ideal place to invest for someone looking to open a small resort, bed and breakfast, or coffee shop. Because of the coffee trade and size of the commercial sector, there are many opportunities that appeal to business travelers.

To summarize, the emerging markets of Latin America have been one of the most exciting investment areas since the new millennium, with new funds and new ways to invest popping up all the time.  There is no doubt that huge gains await investors that can find the right emerging market investment at the right time.  As an active investor, taking advantage of Colombia’s tourist sector can be promising. Tourism in Colombia is still very much in its infancy, and now is one of the best times to get in on the opportunities that await investors for tourism.  A current Colombia law, gives the investment of $1,000,000 USD in a hotel construction, a tax free status for 30 years. There is also a special tax exemption for the development of Ecotourism projects. Note it is important to check on the dates that these investment possibilities expire.

For more information about investing in Colombia please contact ESCAPE ARTIST COLOMBIA ops@escapeartist.com.co

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David is the Chief Editor and CEO for EscapeArtist Colombia.

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