Colombia will host the 9th Ibero-American Rural Tourism Meeting in 2024, an event promoting sustainable development in community-based rural tourism. The selection of Colombia, specifically the Huila department, is a recognition of the cultural diversity, agricultural richness, and the multitude of lifestyles present in the country. Thus, the Colombian candidacy prevailed over those of Mexico and Cuba for the upcoming year’s event.
This will be a space for exchange and learning, fostering synergy between local communities and meaningful international experiences. Countries such as Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, and El Salvador have previously hosted this event, the most important for rural tourism in Latin America. Coinciding with the Miss Universe pageant held a few days ago in El Salvador, Colombia was designated as the host for the 9th edition in 2024.
22 countries working towards sustainable tourism
The meeting will bring together various Ibero-American countries to share knowledge and insights about rural and nature-friendly tourism, valuing the wisdom of local communities and international experiences.
“In Colombia, experts and delegations from 22 Ibero-American countries will come together to pave the way for sustainable rural development through the development of an academic agenda, business meetings, and technical visits in the territory,” explained Humberto López Tirone, President of the Ibero-American Institute of Rural Tourism.
The decision to grant Colombia the organization of the event acknowledges the country’s efforts toward sustainable tourism. This year, the government allocated 6.245 billion pesos to train a thousand leaders in environmentally respectful rural tourism. This effort promoted the study offering the Diploma in Sustainable Rural Tourism, through the National Tourism Fund, Fontur, in partnership with the Panaca Foundation.
The official launch of the event will take place at FITUR 24, the International Tourism Fair in Madrid, Spain.
The Huila department, hosting the meeting
According to Colombia’s Regional Tourism Competitiveness Index, Huila has managed to position itself among the country’s top 10 most competitive departments in tourism. This choice is based on Huila’s commitment and sustained efforts to offer unique experiences to visitors.
The department’s tourist attractions, such as the Tatacoa Desert, the coffee region, and the San Agustin Archaeological Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, make Huila a privileged destination for this Ibero-American meeting.
“The event will not only be a meeting point for experts and delegations from 22 Ibero-American countries but also stands as a catalyst for the sustainable development of community-based rural tourism. The selection of Colombia, particularly Huila, is supported by the synergy between local communities and international experiences, promoting knowledge exchange and inter-institutional coordination,” highlights Juan José Salado, Secretary-General of the Ibero-American Institute of Rural Tourism.