Colombia’s tourism on the rebound; foreign visits up 4.6% in 2013

Colombia’s tourism on the rebound; foreign visits up 4.6% in 2013Foreign visits to Colombia increased 4.6% in the first months of 2013 compared to the same period last year, according to statistics of the country’s Trade Ministry.

According to the ministry’s monthly statistics, nearly 685 thousand foreigners visited Colombia between January and April. Last year, the country received little more than 654 thousand foreign visitors.

Foreign visitors to Colombia

The government statistics show that, with the exception of March, the number of foreign visitors entering Colombia through the international airports has grown steadily since 2011.

Throughout 2013, 534 thousand foreigners entered the country against 514 thousand in the same period last year.

Foreigners entering Colombia through airport customs

Also the number of tourists entering the country’s Caribbean port cities as part of a cruise seemed to have recovered in March and April after a significant drop in 2012 that was persistent until February this year.

Foreigners entering Colombia through port customs

The figures from the first four months of this year indicate Colombia is recovering from a stagnating growth in tourism that had been getting smaller since 2009. Last year, tourism grew 1.8% while tourism in South America grew 4.2%.

FACT SHEET: Colombia’s tourism statistics

Source: Colombia Reports

Medellin named most innovative city of 2012

Medellin named most innovative city of 2012
Colombia’s second city Medellin has beaten Tel Aviv and New York Friday, to be named City of the Year, in a competition sponsored by the Wall Street Journal and Citigroup.

By analyzing 200 of the most innovative cities in the world, Citi, WSJ and Urban Land Institute narrowed the field down to 25 in 2012, and then asked the public to vote the top three.

Events were held in the three cities to drum up enthusiasm for the competition, and Medellin saw off stiff competition from New York and Tel Aviv to become City of the Year on March 1. Organizers described the response from Medellin as “overwhelming.”

Medellin “originally distinguished for its progress and potential,” was commended for initiatives to increase mobility and environmental sustainability. Medellin boasts of an efficient metro and gondola system, which have opened up the city and allow people to access the center easily from homes high up on the steep valley sides.

Urban Land Institute said the “most innovative cities spark visions, remove barriers and cultivate collaboration to improve the quality of life for residents,” which is why Medellin was singled out as City of the Year.

Long known as a city run by drug lords, Medellin has transformed that reputation over the last two decades, reducing its murder rate nearly 80% between 1991 and 2010. The city has built libraries, schools and community centers in disadvantaged neighbourhoods where local government, businesses, community and education organizations are working together to stamp out violence and intimidation.

Public-private partnerships finance projects including Parque Explorer, Medellin’s interactive science museum. Engineering firms have even designed public buildings for free. Medellin has also successfully implemented participatory budgeting, which allows citizens to take part in making decisions on public spending.

While still a city healing the scars of a violent history, Medellin has used leadership and initiative to move towards becoming a hub of innovation, investment and entrepreneurism.

Sources:

City of the Year (WSJ online)
ColombiaReports.com

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