The Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism (MinCIT) has planned to execute 15 different tourism infrastructure projects in 2018 with an investment of around $20 million USD at today’s exchange rate (57 billion pesos). Though this is substantially below the 161 billion pesos the ministry spent on this area in 2017, María Lorena Gutiérrez, Colombia’s minister of commerce, industry and tourism, stressed that the investment is critical.
She says that Colombia “requires infrastructure” capable of keeping up with the “sustained growth” of tourism in the country in recent years. “With these works we are taking a big step to consolidate Colombia as a world-class tourist destination,” said Gutiérrez.
Of the overall total, about $16 million USD will come from the ministry while some $4.2 million USD will be provided by the various local areas where the projects will be carried out, according to MinCIT.
The lion’s share of the investment, almost $16 million, will be used on revitalization projects in the Caribbean department of Magdalena in and around the popular beach city of Santa Marta. In the city itself, the ministry will fund the completion of the second phase of the Santa Marta theater project and an expansion of the Casa Madame Augustín museum.
The rest of these funds will go toward the restoration of the main plaza in the nearby city of Ciénaga and the development of boating areas in Puebloviejo and Nueva Venecia, two locations within the Santa Marta marshlands.
The second largest investment will be the $2.7 million USD devoted to further developing San Agustin, a top archeological site with mysterious statues that date back before the arrival of Columbus to the Americas. The funding will be primarily go toward a museum that will better highlight the history and cultural treasures of the area.
Additionally, in an attempt to promote nautical tourism, some $2.4 million USD will go to the construction of a pier in the department of Cauca near La Salvajina and a small marina on the Caribbean coast in Necoclí.
Another investment will be made into coffee zone tourism. Funds have been allotted for improvements to the cultural center of Salento, the overlook in Filandia, and various projects in the Caldas city of Chinchiná.
The government is also looking to capitalize on the increasing interest in Colombia from the international birding community. More than half a million dollars will be invested in trails that will help enthusiasts view endemic birds, as well as around 50 related informative signs, in the departments of Risaralda (municipality of Dosquebradas) and Arauca (Tame).
Photo: Enjoying some fresh-roasted Colombian coffee at a farm near Salento, one of the country’s top tourism destinations. (Credit: Jared Wade)