According to Colombia’s Asociación Colombiana de Agencias de Viajes y Turismo (ANATO-for “Colombian Association of Travel & Tourism Agencies” in Spanish), departures of Colombians for the 26 European Union (EU) Schengen zone countries have grown by 31.5% since the visa requirement was removed last December.
According to statistics from Migración Colombia with ANATO’s analysis applied, 97,851 Colombian nationals departed between December 2015 and February 2016 destined for European countries, compared to 74,357 departures between December 2014 and February 2015.
Paula Cortés Calle, ANATO’s president, states that the elimination of the visa requirement last December constitutes a dynamizer for tourism to “the old continent.”
“The increment has exceeded our expectations, and the interest of more Colombians in traveling to Europe opens more possibilities for travel agencies to make alliances that permit better packages, more discounts, and more possibilities for the tourist. The elimination of visas can counteract the impact of the strong dollar for Colombians who travel abroad, because they take into account the ease of documentation at the moment they make their trips,” says Cortés.
Cortes added that the links with European countries have been strengthened by the move, and there is interest in growing business and developing even further the number of Colombians traveling to Europe, and from Europe to Colombia.
Not surprisingly, Spain has seen the most visitors from Colombia since the elimination of the visa requirement, with 67,047 travelers; an increase of 26.8% from the previous annual quarter. France is next with 8.137 visitors; an increase of 19.1%. The Netherlands received 7,660 tourists, up 28.8%, Germany received 12% more visitors at 6,535l Italy grew 25% at 4,718, Portugal at 15.9% with 1,135 travelers, and Switzerland, with 991 travelers saw an increase of 38.4%.
Colombian travelers to Europe in 3 months since visa restrictions, December 2015-February 2016: