Colombia hits the right note

Colombia hits the right note

Tourist board to focus on country’s musical highlights

Colombia is celebrating its musical wealth and heritage at WTM London 2018 – the event where Ideas Arrive.

Together with UNWTO and Sound Diplomacy, ProColombia will release a global guide to music and tourism, a key document that explore the role of music across destination development. (Press conference on Tuesday November 6, from 12 noon-1pm.)

Colombia’s booth at WTM London will be a large music box where visitors can experience live concerts, learn to play typical instruments such as the marimba and savour unique and traditional Colombian dishes.

A 25-strong delegation will be on the stand to will explain how the South American country is a world musical power, with more than 1,000 rhythms and dozens of globally recognised songs.

Tourist board ProColombia is underlining the importance of music to tourism with the launch of a White Paper at WTM London. The White Paper, produced in partnership with UNWTO and Sound Diplomacy, explores how musical tourism is set to increase in a similar way to the explosion in interest of gastronomy and travel in the last few years.

The White Paper says: “Music is our only universal language. It is more powerful than English, Spanish or Chinese, as it communicates at an emotional level and, therefore, has the capacity to reach and touch people irrespective of their geographical location or nationality.

“Music is also an expression of the richness and diversity of a destination and therefore an ideal way to learn about its culture.”

A recent YouTube campaign highlighting Colombia as one of the world’s music capitals and the ‘land of a thousand rhythms’. The campaign’s musical theme is a mix of typical Colombian instruments and rhythms on an electronic base, interpreted by several avant-garde artists that represent the country’s diversity of regions: Sebastian Yatra, Martina, La Peligrosa, Herencia de Timbiquí, Alexis Play, Cholo Valderrama, Piso 21 and Maía.

Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia, said: “Colombia is in vogue among international travel experts. The country is increasingly being recognised as a must-visit destination, with a solid and varied offer for tourists of natural, gastronomic and cultural attractions.”

Tourism has played an important role in boosting Colombia’s GDP growth. During 2017, 3.2 million non-resident foreigners arrived in Colombia, which represented an increase of 24.7% in relation to 2016. And in the period between January and July of this year, 2.3 million foreign travellers have arrived, that is, 38.6% more than in the same period of the previous year.

The welcome increase has followed the opening up of regions – once off limits to visitors because of security issues – to international travellers looking for off-the-beaten-track adventures, such as surfing on the Caribbean and Pacific Coast to birdwatching on the Andes.

The country’s connectivity has increased considerably. Currently, Colombia has 24 airlines that operate 1,095 direct international frequencies per week to 26 countries around the world. Among them are JetBlue, Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, Iberia, Lufthansa, Air France, United Airlines and Aeromexico.

The country’s cultural calendar is full of events, fairs and popular festivals in which Colombians celebrate their beliefs and identity through artistic expressions such as music, dance, theatre, gastronomy and religious celebrations.

Examples include the Carnival of Barranquilla, one of the most important cultural expressions of the Caribbean region – the Carnival of Negros y Blancos, in Pasto – and the Bogotá Theatre Festival.

Visitors can also find out about the region’s wildlife. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world with over 56,000 species, including the humpback whale, which travels 8,500 kilometres from Antarctica to arrive at the Colombian Pacific coast between July and November.

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