Colombia, the great leap in exports and tourism

Colombia It went from receiving 700,000 tourists in 1997 to almost 6 million in 2023an increase of 24% compared to the previous year.

In addition to the incredible boom in tourism due to all the natural benefits and services that the South American nation currently offers, Colombia seeks to double and triple its exports at the center of its process of diversification, reindustrialization and expansion of market possibilities for its economy. .

Asia, Africa and the European Community now make up Colombia's strategic geopolitical and economic objective, without leaving the United States, Central America and Latin America as drivers of its income abroad in technology, agribusiness, tourism, mining and petrochemical sectors, among others. .

The volume of negotiations between Colombia and the European Union currently amounts to about 15 billion euros.

Cartagena, a historic headquarters

After 27 years of the first Business Macrorround: foreign investments, exports and diversification of the economy, the welcoming city of Cartagena de Indias once again became the international economic capital for several days during the 100th meeting of investors and buyers from more than 50 countries, including for the first time businessmen from Australia, who joined some 1,700 Colombian exporters.

In Cartagena, natural beauty, culture, history and colonial architecture come together with modernization, the hospitality of the people and a tourist development that is advancing rapidly with the promotion of its native riches, a Caribbean atmosphere, ancestral customs, foods and rhythms. traditional musicals.

Cartagena, bathed by the Caribbean Sea, is also the most relevant tourist city in Colombia, where its walled historic center makes it a distinctive city for visitors who walk the narrow streets of typical balconies and squares with craft vendors; others carry the memory in images of the “palenqueras” with their baskets on their heads full of fruits and that remember the Cuba of yesterday, along with restaurants and shops that compete with the best offers in the world of gastronomy, fabrics and Fashion.

Some compare it with San Juan, Puerto Rico, and others with Havana, Cuba, but Cartagena is unique with its opulence and its humility, with its tropical flavor and its authentic Cartagena culture.

In 2023, Cartagena received more than 620,000 tourists, 35% more than in 2022 and which indicates the rapid economic and tourist growth of the Colombian jewel.

Thousands of business quotes

The organizers of the great event arranged more than 12,200 business meetings between 1,698 Colombian exporters (92% small and medium-sized companies) from 30 departments of the country and 683 international buyers.

“This has been the most impressive event I have attended in my 18 years of traveling to Colombia. All the business meetings I attended were very helpful. Developing a great partnership with ProColombia and, in general, with Colombia, is my main goal now,” said Sohail “Zak” Zakaria, of STITCH-ISH & CO, a US buyer for accessories companies.

Among ProColombia's bets in foreign trade are the internationalization of territories and the productive and exporting culture.

ProColombia, as a promoter of business, tourism and cultural development in Colombia, makes training programs, business conferences and macro conferences such as the one in Cartagena available to entrepreneurs; commercial missions to the country of international buyers, accompaniment of national businessmen in specialized fairs and exploratory missions to strengthen their knowledge of the markets. A work that has given beneficial results for more than 30 years and especially in the last decade.

In the United States, the objective remains to connect the supply of Colombian products and services with the demand of North American buyers.

For the 100th Macrorrueda in Cartagena, whose final expectation amounted to 300 million dollars in business, ProColombia brought more than 115 buyers from the United States in the food, textile and craft, and metallurgical sectors, among others.

USA: Main trading partner

The exports non-mining-energy to the US in 2023 they registered 6,267.5 million dollars. Until February 2024, this economic segment had totaled 1,068.5 million dollars, 4.8% more than in the same period of 2023.

The US is not only Colombia's main trading partner, acquiring 32% of its total exports, but also the largest executor of foreign direct investment in the country and the first issuer of international travelers to the South American nation.

In 2023, the fundamental sectors and products exported to the US were fresh flowers, green coffee, equipment and instruments, construction finishes and coffee derivatives, among others.

The trend continues in the first quarter of 2024 and the departments of Antioquia, Bogotá, Atlántico, Cundinamarca and Valle del Cauca top the list of exporting regions.

Also in the previous year, more than 2,550 Colombian companies exported products to North America. non-mining-energy. And as of February, more than 1,330 Colombian companies had already exported products and services to the US.

The commemorative edition, which took place from April 22 to 26 at the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, marked a significant moment in the history of the event, because it returned to the place where it was held for the first time in 1997.

For a sustainable future

“We celebrate the important results of the Macrorrueda 100, which is nothing more than a manifestation of the determination of the country's businessmen and entrepreneurs to strengthen their presence in the international market and promote inclusive and sustainable development. This not only marks a historic figure for MSMEs (micro, small or medium-sized enterprises), but also symbolizes the evolution of our regions, our business community and Colombia, the Country of Beauty,” declared the president of ProColombia Carmen Caballero. .

The most popular sectors at the business event in Cartagena were agri-food with immediate purchases for 11.2 million dollars, followed by the metalworking sector (mechanical and metallurgical industry) with purchases for 4 million dollars; and fashion and industries 4.0 with a total of $1.2 million each.

Colombia's development has gone hand in hand with its sustainability and environmental protection policies. For this reason and for the first time, the country had a space to speak at the High Level Thematic Event on Tourism at the UN General Assembly and was represented by the president of ProColombia.

“At ProColombia, we reiterate our commitment to continue leading the way towards a more sustainable future in tourism, and we invite everyone to rediscover the immense biodiversity and enormous potential of Colombia,” says Caballero.

Despite notable progress, Colombia still faces big challenges; among them, maintaining peace, developing its infrastructure in general, eliminating regulatory barriers that affect producers, protecting and supervising the quality certifications of its products, extending the digitalization of the economy and facilitating greater access for producers to credit. , which includes small and medium-sized businesses.

For all of the above, Caballero pointed out during the business meeting: “we have to modernize Colombia to expand production and exports.”

The South American nation is going through a strong process of reindustrialization, which will allow it to generate more social wealth and the development of rural communities, through laws that promote private property and expand arable areas, digitalization and industrial boom.