Colombia 2018 | TOURISM | COLUMN

TBY talks to Paulo Lara Restrepo, General Manager, Atlantis, on the sector.

Paulo Lara Restrepo

What have been your biggest accomplishments since setting up operations?

The view from the main boards on shopping centers in Colombia is a little more conservative in terms of marketing, meaning they fear trying something new. The advantage we had here at Atlantis is that we have pretty much one owner—we're 95% owned by PEI, one of the biggest real estate firms in Colombia. We are in a commercial area and have three shopping centers, one specializing in software and computers called Unilago. We also have El Retiro and Andino, which are a little more focused on luxury, and we decided to complement them rather than be a direct competitor. We saw the opportunity to have brands catering to families, such as Chuck E. Cheese's or Cinemark, in order to offer more entertainment options and not merely luxury.

What strategy makes you the preferred choice for your customers?

Our strategy is more about complementing them, which we do by giving personality to the brand. But we are also more than that. For example, rather than throwing a big Christmas celebration, we took that money and invested it in La Guajira. The upper class in Colombia is much smaller than the middle and lower classes, so we wanted to do something real for the country.