With all that Colombia has to offer to the world, these agencies ensure that the right people are investing in the country's future.

Ana María Badel

Executive Director, ProBarranquilla

One of our great strategies is to focus on existing companies in Barranquilla and the department, and to help these companies to continue growing. With that objective, our strategy includes aftercare service and monitoring the investment climate. We have a tool that constantly checks the most important criteria to encourage investment and communicates this information to the public sector. When organizations rank Barranquilla as one with great investment strategies, they take into account the synergies between the public and private sectors, and the budget allocated for promotional activities and initiatives such as tax incentives, growing sectors, digital strategy, city projects, and training. When we promote and sell Barranquilla, nationally and internationally, we contact many investors from different sectors that are looking for diverse opportunities. We map out projects and look for synergies. When we connect local opportunities to international investors, it creates greater communication and connectivity, generating more opportunities beyond investment. Our project bank is extremely important. We are also co-founders of Atlantic Connect, a public-private initiative that looks for and promotes innovation and finds new companies in the department. We must keep working to ensure Barranquilla is not only the best place to invest in, but is also well connected by road, air, water, and telecommunications. We want to ensure it has the best resources and human talent required and that it has spaces to conduct business. These are linked to other factors like quality of life, open spaces, and fulfilling UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Beatriz Martha Dávila

General Manager, Invest in Santa Marta

Santa Marta has a strategic location within the country. We have the highest mountain above sea level in the world, many thermal floors, and three national natural parks, of which two are biosphere reserves recognized by UNESCO. We have the oldest cathedral in America, not to mention four indigenous tribes in the Sierra Nevada that have preserved their traditions and language. We also have agro-tourism, including both the coffee and banana routes, in addition to cultural tourism. We have adventure ecotourism, including bird watching at the Sierra Nevada, and a variety of gastronomic and nightlife spots. Furthermore, we are seeing the arrival of international hotel chains, such as Marriott, Hilton, Best Western, and Mercure, and a convention center, which helps promote business tourism. We help firms with the procedural requirements to set up in Santa Marta. Additionally, we have a lot to do with the investment environment in the city. In 2018, we managed to obtain tax incentives—a 90% exemption in property tax—for new companies that generate between 35 and 100 new jobs. Furthermore, we partnered with the port, which gained greater relevance because it is the only one in Colombia with natural runoff and does not need dredging; moreover, it is the only port with a railway line. The railway line goes to La Dorada Caldas, crossing almost half the country. It runs twice a week with cargo, putting us in front of other cities on the coast.

Juan Pablo Vélez Castellano

Executive President, Cartagena Chamber of Commerce

We want to create a new brand for Colombia as well as Cartagena. We are aware that Colombian culture has much to offer to the world. While Cartagena is the second-most visited city in Colombia, it is the most recognized. Having said this, it is better to promote the country together as a national brand, instead of competing with other regions and diluting overall global exposure. Cartagena receives the highest share of business tourists, with 9% of tourists coming to Cartagena for business purposes. Overall, in 1S2019 we saw a 10.5% increase in international air travelers and a 12.9% increase in domestic air travelers. The tourism industry continues to be an important job generator, with total employees in the sector growing from 889,770 in 2007 to 1.4 million in 2018, a 52% increase. We work together with Invest in Cartagena to promote the investment and business opportunities on offer. While Invest in Cartagena focuses on attracting foreign and national investment, we focus on promoting regulations, maintaining synergies between public and private sectors, and finding links between communities and businesses. We have invested resources and time to study the quantitative impact of our local economy. This information is then used by Invest in Cartagena and businesses to analyze the growth opportunities and financial details of business decisions. The chamber is a center for networking and works closely with convention centers and the hotel industry to promote events and trainings. Since 2005, the Bolívar department has outpaced the national GDP growth rate.