Holiday season in Colombia will reach pre-pandemic figures

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Holiday season in Colombia will reach pre-pandemic figures
Ximena Lombana, MINCIT
Source: MINCIT
December 22, 2021

The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism highlighted the recovery of tourism, which has become one of the engines of economic growth in 2021 and announced that the outlook for 2022 will continue to be very positive


The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, María Ximena Lombana, highlighted the recovery of tourism, which has become one of the engines of economic growth in 2021 and announced that the outlook for 2022 will continue to be very positive.

Presenting the results of the sector this year and the projections for next year, Minister Lombana highlighted that the GDP of accommodation and food services could end in 2021 at a figure around $ 32.9 billion, which would represent between 93% and 98% of the value obtained in 2019, so far the best year for tourism in the country.

“By 2022 we expect a complete recovery in this indicator, and we estimate a GDP for accommodation and food services of around $ 37.5 trillion, which would represent an increase between 8% and 14% when compared with the same values ​​of the year 2019 ”Said the minister, citing the projections of the Directorate of Sector Analysis and Promotion of the Vice Ministry of Tourism.

The estimate of arrival in the country of non-resident visitors for the end of 2021 is 1,982,000 tourists, which would represent between 39 and 47% of the visitors who arrived in the country in 2019, while for 2022 it is expected that the number of non-resident visitors reaches 3 million, a significant recovery compared to the values ​​recorded in this indicator in 2019. 

The Minister also highlighted that the generation of foreign exchange, measured through the Balance of Payments of the Banco de la República, could reach some US $ 2.457 million dollars in exports of transport and travel services by the end of this year and by 2022, It is estimated that it would reach US $ 2,825 million, according to projections made from the information of the quarterly accounts of the System of National Accounts (SNA) published by DANE.

The announcements were made during the press conference on the perspectives of the holiday season and campaign 'Por Colombia #YOVOY, which was attended by leaders of the sector such as the president of ANATO, Paula Cortés Calle; the president of Cotelco, José Andrés Duarte García; the manager of Iata, Andrés Uribe; the president of Acolap, Ángela Díaz; the president of the board of Asobares, Camilo Ospina; the president of Acotur, Laura Durán; Óscar Payán from Colombian Hostels; the president of Acoltés, Lupoani Sánchez; the Vice President of Tourism of ProColombia, Gilberto Salcedo; and the president of Fontur, Irvin Pérez.

Referring to the results obtained so far by the sector, he highlighted that the GDP of accommodation and food services reached 22.86 billion pesos between January and September. The third quarter registered a GDP of $ 9.1 trillion, the best quarter in income since 2005 when the measurement began.

In turn, hotel occupancy in October reached 51.6%, that is, a growth above that before the pandemic, since that of 2019 was 49.6%. "We estimate that at the end of the year 2021 the GDP of the economic activity of accommodation and food services will be around $ 32.9 billion, that is, above the end of the year 2019," said Minister Lombana.

Positive results
The good performance of the sector was confirmed by the unions of the industry and tourism sectors. According to the executive president of ANATO, Paula Cortés Calle, "thanks to the coordinated work, the recovery of the sector in Colombia has been achieved, even compared to other countries in the region." 

Cortés added that this is due to the adoption of measures such as inclusion of Travel Agencies in the PAEF and PAP, refunds to passengers during the pandemic and for up to one more year, as well as the reduction of VAT from 19% to 5% on air tickets and the exemption of tax on services tourism until December 2022.

The outlook for the hotel sector is also positive. The president of Cotelco, José Andrés Duarte, assured that the sector expects “a year-end with a national average of 56% in hotel occupancy for the month of December. This is slightly higher than the month of December 2019. We are optimistic that the reactivation is evolving in a positive way, although somewhat slow in certain regions where tourism for meetings, congresses and conventions has not taken off ”.

For hoteliers, the bet is for the end of the year in which domestic tourism strengthens and more jobs are generated. "By 2022 we expect a tourism that grows sustained, without interruptions due to pandemic and hopefully with a MICE tourism that restarts and allows us to get out of the financial blow that hoteliers still have to overcome as a result of the losses and indebtedness to face the pandemic," he said the manager. 

In turn, the general manager for Colombia of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Andrés Uribe, assured that “we have made Colombia a more competitive and attractive destination thanks to the fact that since the beginning of the pandemic we have raised as an industry the sense of urgency to the authorities to work together ”.

The amusement park sector, which generates 60,000 jobs and has 220 parks affiliated with Acolap, of the almost 400 that operate in the country, is another of the important players in the sector. That is why Ángela Díaz, the president of this union, stressed that “several of the most important tourist destinations in our country have a theme park as an anchor. Through our activity, we are positively impacting all the links in the tourism chain ”.

Similarly, the Executive President of Acoltés, Lupoani Sánchez Celemín, stated that "specialized tourist land transport has had an important economic reactivation, since they have grown in 2021 above 20%, thanks to the incentives of the national government and the credits offered with up to 90% backing from the National Guarantee Fund ”.

For his part, the Vice President of Tourism of ProColombia, Gilberto Salcedo, highlighted the good performance of tourism and its positive projection for 2022, and assured that a new way of promoting the country at an international level will be developed through Six Tourist Regions, with sustainable, reliable and high-quality destinations. 

“We are sure that this will bring greater revenues in 2022, the year in which we are going to consolidate the recovery with an action plan based on six pillars: leading the recovery of air, maritime and land connectivity; turn the country into a leading hub for innovative events in Latin America; promote the country from a macro-regional perspective, through our new strategy of the Six Tourist Regions; position Colombia as the number one destination for sustainability in the region; and strengthening the B2C channel with marketing schemes and strengthening the traditional channel in those markets that demand it, ”explained Salcedo. 

Through Fontur, the Ministry of Commerce advances the campaign 'Por Colombia YO VOY', to promote domestic tourism. During the press conference, the president of this entity, Irvin Pérez, highlighted that investments of $ 64,000 million have been made in promotion; $ 34,000 to improve competitiveness and $ 96,000 million in infrastructure. The manager made a call to regain confidence and take advantage of the potential offered by the different Colombian destinations.

Vaccination, at a good pace
During the press conference it was also highlighted that Colombia has already exceeded 70% of the population vaccinated against the coronavirus with at least one dose, which places it among the countries with the highest immunization in the world. Until December 10, 60,385,993 vaccines had been applied in the country, of which 32,139,067 correspond to first doses. 

The vaccination figures in the country, as well as the studies that confirm that thanks to this protection there is a reduction in severe symptoms and possible cases of hospitalization, create an optimistic scenario for the celebration of the Christmas festivities, for which a good dynamics in tourism that support the estimates of the Ministry of Commerce, without diminishing the importance of security measures and responsibility that citizens must have in the context of covid-19.

The Minister invited Colombians to complete their vaccination schedule and that of their families, in order to be able to safely enjoy all the places that cities and municipalities offer. "Let's travel through Colombia maintaining the corresponding biosecurity measures," said the official.

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