Colombia 2017 | TOURISM & RETAIL | COLUMN

TBY talks to Gustavo Toro, President, Hotel and Tourism Association of Colombia (Cotelco), on the sector.

Gustavo Toro

What are your expectations for the remainder of the year?

As a good indicator, we saw excellent occupancy rates during the Easter holiday, and it was not concentrated totally in the coastal zones. We expect 56% occupancy in Colombia for 2017. Considering that we have added 9,000 more rooms to the mix in 2017, this means demand has grown. The year 2017 will be a year of stabilization. The tax incentives for new hotels will be over starting in 2018, and we will see less new hotels being built. That will definitely increase our rates, prices, and occupancy.

Where do you see opportunities for foreign investors in the hospitality sector?

Regarding hotels, we have mainly seen activity from local investors. There are few foreign investors in the sector so far. Most of the foreign hotels that arrive here do so in the form of franchised chains that work with a local partner. This allows them to have their brand and image present in the country without taking on any significant risk. Currently, we see many projects coming to an end, but we still do not see a great occupancy rate. We hope to see better trends in the coming years.