Colombia’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MinCIT) released a figures this week that show a marked increase in the number of foreigners visiting the country between January and May 2018. According to the ministry that oversees tourism investment, Colombia saw an increase of 38.1% compared to the same period in 2017 or 2,4 million visitors in during the first five months of this year compared with 3,4 million.
Just in May, some 600,000 tourists entered the country compared to 460,000 during the same month last year. Cruise ship passengers make up for the majority of growth, and 51% increase over 2017. According to the ministry, US$1,6 billion was generated during the first quarter of 2018 for the GDP, and 23% increase compared to the same period last year.
Since the signing of the historic Peace Agreement in November 2016, that ended a half century long conflict, tourism has played an important role in boosting Colombia’s GDP growth. Many regions, once off limits to visitors due to security issues, are now beginning to receive travelers looking for off-the-beaten-track adventures. From surfing on the Pacific Coast to horseback riding across the grassy plains of Los Llanos and observing Caño Cristales, Colombia’s most colorful river in the department of Meta, the country has become a much sought after holiday destination.
“This permanent growth confirms that we are on the radar of world tourism. It also ratifies that this sector is one of the most benefited with the ending of the conflict and that said Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, María Lorena Gutiérrez.
As the second most biodiverse country in the world, Colombia’s fauna and flora are also a major attraction. One such activity is birdwatching in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world’s highest coastal mountain range and incredibly rich in endemic bird species. An article recently published in The Economist highlighted that “with more bird species than anywhere else in the world, Colombia is ornithological heaven.”