TBY talks to Jairo Buendía, General Manager, Arikat, on the sector.

Jairo Buendía

What is your commitment to developing intermediate cities in Colombia?

There are many investments in Colombia's intermediate cities. There are parts of the country just being explored by big builders and investors, such as the southern coffee zone, Pasto, or Popayán—cities with some kind of attraction or border cities. I am interested in continuing to build hotels hand in hand with Best Western and the Stanzia. There is also still an income tax exemption for hotels in cities with less than 200,000 inhabitants. That is important, for foreign investors in particular, especially since the hotel industry developed so well.

How do you attract investors for such projects?

There are always the initial investors who run the risk with the builder, who tend to get a slightly higher return. We attract investors with private meetings. We do not launch these projects to market in a global way but focus on the inner circles of investors to attract others. At the moment, Colombians are among investors at all stages, though we also have investors from abroad. However, I would like to have a reputable foreign investor who wants to build hotels and business centers with us.