Managing Director of Tropical Tours Fred Smith speaks after collecting his award.
Carlos Gonzales Agudelo addresses the 54th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa last week.
ROSE HALL, St James – Caribbean Executive Director of ProColombia Caribe Carlos Gonzales Agudelo is appealing to local tourism stakeholders to capitalise on the growing number of Colombian tourists, citing that over 3.8 million Colombia nationals travelled overseas last year.
“We have 3.8 million Colombians that like to travel and that is increasing at a fast rate. In 2013 — 3.6 Colombians went abroad,” Agudelo revealed.
“This is my proposal to the private sector in Jamaica. When last you had 10,000 Colombians visiting this beautiful island? You have beautiful beaches, you have the people, you have the food, you have reggae music — we know your flag.”
Additionally, Agudelo argued that “we have a lot to talk about” as not a cent of the US$7.7 billion invested in the region by ProColombia Caribe in 2013 was invested in Jamaica.
“I think we have a lot to talk about because in 2013 our companies invested US$7.7 billion in the region and still we haven’t invested in Jamaica,” he remarked.
“We also are the fourth recipient of foreign direct investment in the region, after Brazil, Mexico and Chile. We received US$60 billion last year in investments in Colombia,” he said.
He invited members of the business sector to send representatives to attend the annual Colombia Travel Mart, one of the premier trade shows in South America.
“Your companies, your private sector should go more aggressively to Colombia Travel Mart, which is one of the largest trade shows in South America. We need to see more firms from here, we need to see more press straight from here, hence one thing I reiterate we need to get direct connectivity,” he said.
“You move together and promote the way you should promote your country in Colombia. People are there waiting for you. Jamaica has connections in Colombia.”
In the meantime, he revealed that presently the tourism markets in the United States, Venezuela, Canada, Peru, Equador, Bolivia and Mexico soak up most of the Colombian visitors.
“Look at where we are going — we Colombians — the first one is the United States, the second one is Venezuela, and the third one is Canada, which is followed by Peru, Equador, Bolivia, Mexico and then we have the Caribbean,” he argued.
He added that the lion’s share of the 180,000 Colombians who travelled to the Caribbean last year went to Aruba, the Dominica Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico, while “a mere 2,330 Colombians came to Jamaica”.
However, the Caribbean executive director of ProColombia Caribe lamented the absence of direct connectivity between Jamaica and Colombia.
“I think one of the reasons is connectivity. We have flights every day, we do have connectivity, not direct, but with COPA through Panama. And within Panama you can reach 11 cities in Colombia,” he stated.
He was delivering the keynote address at the 54th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa last week.
Meanwhile, upon collecting the Allied Members Service Award in the local transportation category, Fred Smith, managing director of Tropical Tours, supported the call for direct connectivity between Jamaica and Colombia.
“Whenever you go into Panama airport and you look out there you see planes from all over. It’s really, really a good idea (direct connectivity) that we should look at,” Smith argued.
Recently, Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO) and ProColombia, Colombia’s foreign investment and trade promotion agency, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote cooperation between the two.
The MoU guides collaborations between JAMPRO and ProColombia on programmes and initiatives to increase trade and foreign direct investment between Jamaica and Colombia.
“I just want to let you know about the opportunities that we in Colombia have to offer to you. This is what we do. We kind of operate between JAMPRO and the Jamaica tourism office. We are in charge of promoting Colombia as a destination for investment,” Agudelo said.
Published Date: June 14th, 2015
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.