BUSINESS WITH A SIDE OF SABROSURA

Colombia 2018 | TOURISM | FOCUS: BUSINESS TOURISM

Following Colombia's recent economic success, business visitors fuel inbound tourism to the country.

Tourism has been pivotal in reducing the dependency on oil exports and sustaining the dynamism of the Colombian economy. In 2017, the country received a record number of tourists—more than 6.5 million—and forecasts are even brighter for 2018. Already, the first two months of year registered a 41.4% increase compared to the same period in 2017, according to Colombia's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism.

And businesses are showing their interest in Colombia. Most recently, in May 2018, HubSpot opened their eighth global location in Bogotá. The new Colombia location will be the customer experience platform and marketing company's LATAM headquarters and will likely open 3Q2018. The Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism was quoted in HubSpot's press release, noting, “In recent years, Colombia has become a business services and IT hub for companies around the world," because of the country's location, human resources, and favorable business environment.
In April, Banco de Bogotá invited thousands from micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses to attend the Small Business World Fair for networking and supporting local businesses. With people increasingly on the move for work, this opens up more opportunities for business tourism.
Buzzing business activity has positioned Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, and Cali quite well to lift business-related travel, combining work with Colombia's leisure offerings as well. Aviatur, a local tourism player in Colombia, told TBY that 70-75% of its outbound travel business is corporate travel. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that business travel spending will increase by 1.9% in 2018, and this only accelerate—rising by an average 3.6% per year through the next 10 years. In 2017, business spending made up only 17.6% of total tourism spending in Colombia, indicating under-tapped potential for this sub-segment of the tourism sector.