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The Answer is Colombia

By Doug Gollan

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Having previously led Barranquilla’s drive to gain investors, Tatyana Orozco was well-prepared for her first visit to New York in her one-month-old capacity as Colombia’s new Deputy Minister of Tourism.

Colombia has been growing economically – in 2012, it saw a four percent increase in GDP. The tourism sector is growing as well, with over four million visitors expected this year, up from 3.8 million in 2012.

“A beach you can get anywhere, but we are promoting 26 unique experiences all around the country,” Orozco told Elite Traveler during an exclusive interview.

There are seven Colombian attractions recognized by UNESCO, including 2011’s “cultural coffee landscape,” in which elite travelers can get a firsthand look at how coffee is grown and harvested.  The Deputy Minister pointed out a range of attractions, from ecotourism and birdwatching in the jungle, to cultural pursuits like some of the world’s largest outdoor theatres in Bogota. For those of you who just want to have a party, Barranquilla’s annual carnival invites revelers to dress up and participate.

In addition, Colombia is focused on attracting more mega-yachts, and there is development in wellness, including thermal spas. Orozco reports that foreign investment has grown 400 percent over the last couple years. Investors from all over the world are being drawn to opportunities in oil, manufacturing, logistics and hotels. Some 55 new hotels with over 5,000 rooms have opened in the past two years, and Four Seasons is possibly considering Caribbean coastal city Cartagena.

The country’s new campaign is “The Answer is Colombia,” to underscore the diversity of things to do.  Orozco’s team will launch the new campaign in New York’s Times Square tomorrow because “we’ll meet not only Americans there, but also people from China, India and everywhere.”  To catch everyone’s attention, there will be a flash mob with coordinated singing.

Of course, tourism executives are hoping the next time you are thinking about where to take your private jet, the answer will be Colombia.

www.colombia.travel