The expected signing of a formal peace agreement between the government and Colombia’s main rebel group, the FARC, promises to be a key event for the country’s tourism industry in 2016. A settlement is expected to formalize and extend the reduction in political violence seen in recent years, with tourism among the sectors set to benefit the most from the peace accord. The sector has registered significant growth in recent years, a trend set to continue in the short-term. Tourism arrivals rose by 12.1% in 2014, with over 2.5m visitors, while data for the first half of 2015 shows growth of 12%, with a 16.3% drop in cruise ship arrivals offset by an 18.2% increase in arrivals by air. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the tourism industry’s direct economic contribution in 2014 was equivalent to 1.9% of Colombia’s GDP, while its total contribution reached 5.9%.
This chapter includes an interview with Arturo García Rosa, President and Founder, South American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference.