MADRID, Oct. 30, 2020
Europe continues to show strong interest in Colombia as a vacation and meetings destination. This was made clear during Colombia's Virtual Week in Europe—a virtual academic and business forum organized by ProColombia and held from October 19-23—which brought together several of the sector's most important stakeholders from both continents. During this virtual event, 465 business meetings were held (compared to 251 in the previous edition) between 70 buyers from 12 different countries and 54 Colombian exporters. The event generated expected business worth US $1,855,174, exceeding the established goal of US $1,500,000.
The week began with speeches given by Colombia's Vice Minister of Tourism, Julián Guerrero, World Travel & Tourism Council CEO Gloria Guevara, World Tourism Organization Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili, and ProColombia President Flavia Santoro.
Moderated by the managing director of Hills Balfour, the debate on the future of the tourism industry from tour operators' perspective included The Travel Corporation's CEO, Air Europa's UK and Ireland country director, and LATA's president. Participants in the panel about the MICE segment included Esfera/MPI, Asoeventos, and Maritz Global. The discussion highlighted Colombia's ranking as one of the top 30 host countries in the meetings industry, according to the ICCA.
The air connectivity panel was moderated by ProColombia Vice President of Tourism Gilberto Salcedo and included representatives from Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Turkish Airlines, Avianca, OPAIN, and the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority. Salcedo highlighted the significant biosafety efforts being made by Bogota's El Dorado International Airport, including creating a laboratory within the airport that performs antibody and PCR tests, working on getting approval of a rapid PCR test, and conveying the importance of pre-registering via the Check-Mig app prior to traveling in order to shorten wait times. The airlines featured Colombia's importance as a destination and regional hub, the country's enormous potential worldwide—particularly with Europe—and positive market prospects that have been increasing travel for business, tourism, cultural experiences, and conferences.
Between August 2018 and August 2020, 34 new routes arrived in Colombia, with Europe as one of the priorities. In fact, 20% of arrivals to Colombia hail from this market.
As always, Colombia is ready to welcome travelers and make them feel better than ever by promoting sustainable, biosafe, and unforgettable tourism options.
MARIAN SAGREDO NEBREDA,
+34 (91) 5776 708
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