Colombia will be awarded the best Inclusive International Tourism Destination at the Fitur fair, the most important in the world in this sector, held in Madrid, Spain. The Fitur 4all award, in its first version, commended the country in one of its categories. Colombia was recognized for its policies and regulations, which create an environment conducive to more accessible tourism.
The award will be presented by the prestigious Madrid fair which, in alliance with the entity Impulsa Igualdad, this year created the Futur 4all award to recognize the best destinations in Spain and the world in inclusive tourism. Impulsa Igualdad is a Spanish non-profit organization that represents and promotes actions in favor of almost 2.5 million people with disabilities in Spain.
The awards ceremony will take place on January 25, within the framework of Fitur, which is being held at the Ifema trade fair and events center in Madrid from January 24 to 28. The award will be collected by the Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, German Umaña.
Tourism as a driving force
Colombia is the third largest tourist destination in Latin America, although still a long way behind the first, Mexico. President Gustavo Petro recently pointed out the importance of promoting and increasing international tourism in the country. Colombia has important offers that can attract this tourism: beaches on two oceans, paradisiacal islands, mountains, jungles, culture and gastronomy. The pacification of some territories, in the framework of the peace reached in 2016 with the extinct FARC, has allowed to open to visitors corners that until then were out of bounds to tourism.
The Colombian president’s vision is that the money the country will stop earning in the path it wants to follow towards the progressive abandonment of oil or coal exploitation should be replaced by the income generated by tourism. In his firm commitment to the energy transition, Petro has been strongly questioned by the opposition, since Colombia is a major oil producer and exporter. It is the country’s main legal export and the abandonment of future exploration could weaken the economy. The president has insisted on the country’s tourism capabilities, betting on the exponential growth of this sector in the immediate future.
Inclusive tourism has been one of the realities that Colombia has sought to promote, and its efforts deserve this important international recognition. “In the government of President Gustavo Petro, we value the role of tourism in the inclusion of vulnerable communities and territories, as it generates new economic, social and business opportunities, while helping to improve the quality of life of citizens,” said the Minister of Trade and Tourism, German Umaña.
“Tourism in Harmony with Life”
Under the name “Tourism in Harmony with Life”, the Tourism Sector Plan 2022-2026 is working on the first steps to guarantee accessibility to 180 tourist attractions in the country. In this regard, it is planning and implementing initiatives for the elimination of barriers and the promotion of accessible tourism in 10 destinations.
Inclusive tourism policies also include the Smart Tourist Destinations program, the Youth Card, My First Trip, the strategy to position our gastronomy as a Colombia a la Mesa tourism product, and future formulations for animal welfare in tourism activities, among others.
“We want more and more foreign tourists to be attracted by the Country of Beauty, and to find here in Colombia a destination without barriers, which extends a welcome while caring for and protecting diversity. We are a world power of life and a place where we all fit in,” said Minister Umaña.
Colombia has a wide range of plans for all tastes with Friendly Biz certification, an international seal that promotes respect and non-discrimination in business environments. Colombia’s seals range from visits to museums with guides in Colombian sign language and descriptions in Braille to excursions along nature trails and rural areas with educational aids and sensory interpretation.
In its commitment to make travel a tool for inclusion, Colombia has engaged in international cooperation with countries such as Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya and Ethiopia. It also collaborates with the World Tourism Organization.