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Colombia, a Rising International Tourism Destination

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Colombia is Becoming an International Tourism Destination
Colombia’s tourism sector shines as an international tourism destination, surpassing pre-pandemic levels with a $14.9B boost to the economy in 2022. Credit: ColombiaOne

Over the past few years, tourism has been growing rapidly in Colombia, exceeding pre-Covid pandemic levels in 2022. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Colombia stands out as an exception in Latin America, where the tourism sector has yet to fully recover from the pandemic’s impact.  

Tourism plays a crucial role in Colombia, significantly contributing to economic development and employment. With its rich cultural and natural attractions, the country has significant potential for further growth in the tourism sector in the coming years.

Colombia as an international tourism destination

According to the latest data from the WTTC, tourism contributed $14.9 billion (58.9 trillion COP) to the Colombian economy in 2022, exceeding its 2019 performance and accounting for more than 4.5 percent of Colombia’s GDP. This figure is expected to be surpassed in the coming years, as the Colombian tourism sector continues to boom.

Last year, Colombia welcomed a record number of 5.87 million international tourists, compared to 4.2 million in 2019. These new visitors mainly came from the United States, Mexico, Ecuador and Spain, underscoring Colombia’s regional and international appeal as a tourist destination.

In the WTTC report, the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Cartagena and the urban, innovative city of Medellin are highlighted as the country’s main tourist destinations.

Colombia’s tourism industry, a key to economic development

Tourism accounts for 5.6 percent of total employment in Colombia, employing approximately 1.25 million people. Compared to other sectors, tourism stands out as one of the most inclusive and gender equal in the country, with women making up 47 percent of its workforce.

Highlighting the growing importance of the tourism sector in Colombia, the WTTC will, for the first time, participate in the Vitrina Turistica Anato, the annual gathering of the Colombian tourism industry, from February 28 to March 1, 2024.

In the coming years, the anticipated growth of the tourism industry in Colombia is expected to offer both socio-economic opportunities and challenges for locals, as many communities already depend on this sector for their livelihoods.


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