Guatapé, a sustainable municipality open to international tourism

Recently on a tour of Colombia, Travel2latam was able to visit Guatapé, Antioquia, to learn about its main attractions and experience some of its tourist attractions

(Source: Travel2latam)

In this context, Travel2latam spoke with Estefanía Giménez Herrón, Secretary of Tourism and Promotion of Guatapé.

What are the attractions and differentials of the tourist municipality of Guatapé?

The entire urban area is surrounded by many colorful plinths, one of our main tourist attractions that is part of the heritage of Guatapé, in addition to attractions such as the stone, the reservoir and other tourist activities that we have to offer to the different tourists and inhabitants who come to visit us daily. 

Guatapé is a sustainable municipality, certified under the technical standard in a delimited area where we seek to ensure that the environmental, economic and sociocultural pillars always develop hand in hand to achieve a sustainable title in this destination. Approximately seven years ago we created an event that is led by the municipal administration through the Secretariat of Tourism and Economic Development. It is an event that we hold ending with the wedding in Medellín and before starting the flower fair in Medellín. This event allows us to learn about the culture of the heritage that we have. 

How have local people benefited from this tourism and how have they made this transformation?

It has been a process that unfortunately has not allowed us to plan, it generated a change in the entire social, environmental, and economic dynamics of the inhabitants of the Municipality of Guatapé. However, at this time 92% of the economy depends on tourism, which means that in economic terms an economic spillover and economic income is generated for the population by the provision of different tourist activities. We have restaurants, travel assistance, accommodation, tourist guides, tourist operators, and other merchants that allow Guatapé to be an economically sustainable municipality.

Do you participate in tourism fairs to promote tourism? 

That's right, we participate in national and regional fairs from the destination promotion line and now we are working a bit in international fairs. This year we participated in Expoturismo in Panama, where it was our first participation in another destination at an international level in America.

How do you work in sustainable tourism, with the certification you mentioned? 

We have a delimited area in the municipality of Guatapé where they comply with regulatory requirements in environmental, economic and sociocultural pillars, where not only tourists and visitors must comply with them, but also each of the actors of this destination; merchants, residents, municipal administration, and the governance that we have. 

How do you handle mass tourism? 

At this time, a study of carrying capacity is being led and executed to determine the support and number of visitors that each of the attractions and tourist sites of the destination have. To date, we do not have a tool that allows us to control this carrying capacity, but a study process is being executed that will allow us to make decisions regarding this capacity of tourists and visitors. 

What is the hotel capacity and what are the national and international source markets?

Our tourist infrastructure is very extensive, so we have different accommodations. We have approximately 450 establishments that can accommodate more than 4,000 people. Our main allies are from the private sector in terms of promotion, different airlines that through their private companies are promoting us daily without payment or without an additional value to the promotion that we carry out. Guatapé is a municipality that, in terms of market segmentation, changes constantly. In general, in a week we have a percentage of 70% of foreign visitors and on the weekend the dynamic changes to 70% of national visitors. Now with some airlines and connections that are being made directly with the destination, especially with the Río Negro airport, we see that they are visiting us from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Costa Rica. In addition, one of our main market segments is France.

What invitation would you make to other foreigners, perhaps Latinos, who may come to this interview?

It is a special invitation because we are united by language, there is no such barrier, you can visit us, it is a safe, affordable destination and we have different tourist offers for the family. We have adventure sports and an offer where you can learn about the cocoa, coffee and avocado tour. From the gastronomic offer we also have different dishes to show you that you can enjoy in Guatapé. We have more than 140 restaurants and not only from our gastronomic culture, but also a tour of the world where there are Indian, Mexican, Italian restaurants, among others. 


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