Colombia’s “Tourism Product and Innovation Club” is a new service launched in response to the challenges of the Covid pandemic. The strategic grouping seeks to accelerate the development of products focused on the new needs of international travellers.

Through the strategic articulation of entrepreneurs from various regions of the country, the governmental promotion and marketing organisation ProColombia launched the club this month. The grouping include more than 70 local companies including operating agencies and accommodation establishments. They recently met to discuss travel strategies.

After identifying the trends that are shaping the international tourism scene, the participants were able to focus on the design of a product that adjusts to this new reality. Following this, the process of adapting the service portfolio and the design of commercial sales strategies was carried out.

As a result, the Club is launching six digital themes. They emphasise the different experiences and services that are available to travellers across Colombia. These themes are:

  1. Colombia awakens: hotels that offer tourism experiences of nature, well-being and culture meet here.
  2. Wheels and reins for Colombia: a catalogue of equestrian tourism, tourism on two wheels and well-being.
  3. Música Colombia: a space that concentrates experiences around Colombian musical rhythms.
  4. Millennial Colombia: where tourism and the country’s ancestral cultural traditions come to life.
  5. This is how Colombia sounds and tastes: an account of music and traditional gastronomy.
  6. Colombia vital: a compendium of trades and knowledge typical of Colombian culture.

When participants were asked to give their feedback following the April 12 meeting, most found the Tourism Product and Innovation Club “useful to learn about ways to improve the tourism offer”. The club is perceived as an opportunity to know and link-up within tourism products. Henry López, manager of the Nariño company Tapiz de Retazos, said, for example, that his participation helped his company to “design, work together, create teams between regions, promote our destinations and improve internal processes with motivation and collaboration of the leading advisers of ProColombia ”.

Recovery in international air capacity

Colombia pins its hope on a quick recovery once the pandemic situation stabilises and recedes. The country has good perspectives. According to ProColombia research, the country was, along with Mexico and Ecuador, the country in Latin America that recovered the most international air capacity at the end of 2020. According to data from ProColombia and OAG, 48.6% of the available seats re-established, as well as 46.6% of the frequencies, from according to ProColombia calculations and OAG studies.

It closed 2020 connecting with 24 countries through 21 airlines. Figures exceed the goal set by ProColombia in 2020 to recover 40% of pre-pandemic air capacity. “It is a responsible reactivation and is complying with all the health safety requirements. We can say that we are trusted by international travellers thanks to our work together with all the tourism industry, including both public and private sectors”, explained Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia. 

With the closure of borders due to the pandemic and the suspension of flights in 2020, ProColombia was in charge of maintaining contact with airlines to assess their needs and to develop a promotion plan. Marketing funds were increased with a focus on the Americas and Europe. 

During 2020, seven international air routes opened. JetSMART launched Santiago-Bogotá; EZ Air Curaçao-Bogotá route and Laser with Caracas-Bogotá. In November Spirit Airlines started flights from Fort Lauderdale to Bucaramanga and Barranquilla, JetSMART launched the first ever connection from the Chilean city of Antofagasta to Cali and Bogotá .

“The goal we have at ProColombia for 2021 is to increase weekly international frequencies by 18% and weekly seats by 12% by year-end when compared to last year”, Santoro added.

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