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Meeting with Camilo Martinez, director of Procolombia France

Colombia is now accessible and the entry requirements for travelers are simple: having started the vaccination scheme or having a PCR test less than 72 hours old. On the territory, the restrictions are almost similar to France: It is enough to wear a mask in the places of health and education.

Promotion agency of the Colombian government, attached to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Procolombia promotes Colombian exports. It also deals with the promotion of international investment in Colombia as well as international tourism to Colombia. This organization has around thirty offices abroad and one manager per line of work.

A safe destination for a long time

“Like all countries, Colombia has gone through complicated times during the health crisis”, says Camilo Martinez, director of the agency. However, the government was able to manage the situation by favoring the health of citizens to the economy. A vaccination program in collaboration with various laboratories was set up very early. Composed of 48 million citizens, the country now has more than 40 million people with a complete vaccination schedule.

In September 2020, Colombia was already opening its doors to tourists from countries classified outside the red zone. The Americans are the first to come back. Following this, a tourism reactivation program and a health program were launched. In this same period, the South American country was rewarded. Various prizes were awarded such as the World Travel and Tourism Council in April 2021 for this program.

A WHO biosafety label was created in September 2020. One of the first in the world approved by the World Tourism Organization. This aims to certify the services of the tourist chain as being secure places at Covid-19.

A continuous promotion

“Tourism players have continued their approach so as not to be late at the time of the relaunch,” adds Camilo Martinez. During the period of the health crisis, tourism professionals used their time to offer travelers a more up-to-date tourism. The reactivation plan and the Colombian tourist organization has prepared for the recovery by improving on several points.

Connectivity was the first line of battle. Exporter training, internal and international biosafety certification, and the enactment of the Tourism Law and Sustainable Tourism Policy came next. Major demands in Colombia.

This law and this policy aim to better train Colombian tourism companies, to strengthen the institutional mechanisms of the different regions but also to promote best practices with regard to tourists. A key period for Colombian tourism.

An encouraging recovery

At the dawn of summer 2022, Colombia is the 8th country in the world to obtain the best recovery figures compared to 2019 (with 75% of tourists). The growth rate compared to January 2002 is 174%. This shows that Colombia’s post-covid economic evolution was already significant. Currently, the country is at 100% of its possible air connectivity.

From France, all connections resumed service and a new footbridge has even just been inaugurated. “This shows that Colombia is in the right direction”, assures the director of Procolombia France. Today, the country hosts 7 times more events than 10 years ago. A direction that local actors want to continue to follow.

The latter are currently working on geography (6 important regions) but also on the diversification of types of tourism: LGBT tourism is in vogue as well as cruises and natural tourism because Colombia is the first in bird watching. Indeed, this country has the most biodiversity per km 2. It is also the one with the most species of birds, butterflies, orchids and frogs.

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