Colombia brought in a record high of nearly $5.8 billion USD in foreign tourism revenue in 2017, according to new data from the Colombian central bank.
This figure represents a 5.4% increase compared to 2016, when recently downwardly adjusted numbers show an inflow of almost $5.5 billion USD. (The Banco de la República had previously estimated a provisional total of nearly $5.7 billion USD for 2016.)
Moreover, according to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, last year’s all-time high is 68% higher than the foreign revenue of $3.4 billion USD in 2010, right around the time when Colombia’s security situation had started to improve enough to begin attracting more international tourists.
“These figures confirm that tourism is an engine of development for the country,” said María Lorena Gutiérrez, Colombian minister of commerce, industry, and tourism. “Each year, our country is more attractive for foreign visitors. Now we must continue strengthening our tourism proposition and making this industry more and more sustainable.”
The news comes on the heels of Colombia gaining even more international recognition as a tourism hot spot. The New York Times ranked the South American nation second on its annual list of the “52 Places to Go in 2018,” TripAdvisor named Medellín as the number-one “Travel Destination on the Rise in South America,” and Booking.com put Bogotá on its “Top 10 Up-and-Coming Travel Destination” list this year.
Medellín has also shown impressive growth recently as an event tourism destination. In 2016, it hosted 42 international association meetings — the same number as Chicago and Zurich — and seven times as many as the former world murder capital held in 2006.
Photo: Cayo Cangrejo, off the islands of San Andrés and Providencia in the Caribbean, is one of many tropical paradises in Colombia. (Credit: Roberto San Andrés)