After three days focused on business activities targeting professionals, followed by two days of promotion aimed at the general public, Colombia successfully concluded its participation in the International Tourism Fair (Fitur), the most significant event of its kind in Spain and one of the most relevant globally.
This achievement is attributed to the outstanding performance of the Colombian delegation, comprising over 40 entrepreneurs, who exceeded preliminary business expectations, totaling over USD$30 million.
During the event held in Madrid from January 24 to 28, Colombian entrepreneurs held 874 meetings with companies from 36 countries, including representatives from England, the United States, Thailand, Switzerland, Venezuela, Italy, Spain, France, Egypt, Poland, China, among others. Carmen Caballero, President of ProColombia, emphasizes, “Colombia is emerging as an ideal global tourist destination, reflected in the considerable interest shown by these foreign companies. Our proposal has been so attractive that we have surpassed business expectations, doubling the results obtained in 2023.”
The country presented itself at this international fair with the new slogan “Colombia, the country of beauty,” offering an innovative experience at its stand. It featured screens projecting images of the country, highlighting key concepts that constitute a unique and competitive presentation of Colombia to attract international travelers. Regarding cultural displays, the Nativos de Macondo Foundation entertained stand visitors during the fair weekend.
Moreover, visitors had the opportunity to explore the country’s gastronomic diversity through a coffee bar installed in partnership with Juan Valdez. In addition to serving cups of this emblematic national beverage, there was a tasting of indigenous products. Colombian handicrafts were also exhibited with the support of Artesanías de Colombia, and a module provided detailed information about artisanal routes, a project inviting visitors to discover crafts from a tourism perspective.
Arturo Bravo, Deputy Minister of Tourism, stated, “Fitur is an important stage to strengthen Colombia’s bilateral relations with other countries, allowing for the establishment of international cooperation actions that boost the country’s tourism development, in line with the Tourism in Harmony with Life policy promoted by President Gustavo Petro’s government. Additionally, this fair is one of the most important showcases for the world to confirm why Colombia is the Country of Beauty.”
During the fair, Colombia reaffirmed its adherence to the UN Tourism Global Plastics Initiative, outlined a roadmap with SEGITUR for the creation of the National Network of Smart Tourist Destinations, and signed an agreement with the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) for pedagogical transfer in sustainable tourism from Portugal to the municipalities of Guapi (Cauca) and Nuquí (Chocó).
At this international event, ProColombia presented a new specialized guide for diving enthusiasts, providing relevant information about areas in the country where this activity can be practiced. The focus is on sustainability and showcasing Colombia’s ocean biodiversity.
Another piece of good news during the fair was that the production “Finding Encanto” received the 2023 Excellence Tourism Awards in Audiovisual, presented by the Excelencias Group. This is the third international award the miniseries has received after the Cannes Dolphin and the Gold from the Terres Travel Festival.
In the Gourmet category of the same award, the Peasant Museum of Gachancipa, Cundinamarca, was recognized as a gastronomic tourism experience promoting the country’s food sovereignty. It serves as a guardian of native seeds of corn, beans, fava beans, quinoa, wheat, native potatoes, and grains.
Colombia also took the title of the best Inclusive International Destination in the first edition of the FITUR4all awards, recognizing the Change Government’s approach to formulating and implementing inclusive tourism policies, ensuring accessibility to 180 tourist attractions, and promoting inclusive tourism in 10 destinations in the country.
Additionally, Carmen Caballero, President of ProColombia, received the Friendly Biz seal awarded by the Diversity Chamber of Colombia. This recognition certifies the entity as an organization with an inclusive and discrimination-free work environment. The official also signed a general promotion agreement with the Spanish airline Iberia, aiming to facilitate the arrival of new Spanish travelers.
Iconic places in Madrid embrace Colombia
Meanwhile, with the aim of strengthening Colombia’s presence in the Spanish capital, the country deployed an unprecedented initiative to captivate Madrid residents and international visitors to Fitur 2024. Iconic urban spaces were transformed with captivating images reflecting Colombia’s cultural and natural richness.
The Callao Square and the Colombia Station of the Madrid Metro projected videos and images of the Country Brand narrative. Colombia Station showcased the charms of its South American namesake for a week, and was temporarily and distinctly named ‘Colombia, the country of beauty,’ reinforcing the promotional message.
Impressive screens in Callao Square also projected images of the country. “These projections, reaching over 15 million people, have been designed to highlight both tourist destinations and business opportunities that Colombia offers. The audience, composed of 61% Madrid residents and visitors from the United States, France, and Austria, among others, ensures that Colombia’s message reaches the world,” said the President of ProColombia.