Bogotá has positioned itself during the last years as one of the most demanded destinations in the competitive world of business tourism. After years of being stigmatized as the capital of a country immersed in political and safety problems, in the last decades Colombia has become the trendy country in the region and has shaken itself from the dust of its own past. It’s important and sustained economic growth, political stability and the beginning of a straightening in the eternal guerrilla conflict have been the miracle workers.
Bogotá has taken advantage of the country’s boost and has turned into a modern and cosmopolitan city that submits its credentials as one of the zone’s most importants and dynamic entrepreneurship’s hub. Bogotá is the Colombian city that offers the best infrastructure when it comes to tourism: hotels, shopping malls, bars and restaurants. This network of services has reinforced Bogotá’s growing vocation as a city of congresses, a touristic segment that is focusing a good part of its efforts.
In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in this kind of tourism that spends more, demands high-quality services and requires a higher level in the cultural and leisure offer. Bogotá, without a doubt, has these. The wake of García Márquez or Botero is still one of the best trademark images that can project the country overseas. The result has been a greater interest of tourists from the United States, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Spain.
A city of businesses and luxury hotels.
The Colombian capital has vigorous economic indicators (GDP) that puts it in the seventh place among the most important ones in Latin America. Multinational companies, hotel chains and the main luxury franchises operate in a city that has got used to a fast life and even a faster growth.
According to official numbers, Bogotá currently offers more than 21.000 hotel beds, a figure that allows it to compete on equal terms with the best placed cities in this aspect: Mexico FD, Buenos Aires, Lima and Rio de Janeiro. Fifty luxury and well qualified hotels lead an offer completed by an endless list of small hotels, minimalists or boutique. Most of the big hotel chains (Marriot, Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Best Western) operate in Bogotá and in the words of experts, they do it with particularly competitive prices in the region. The average cost in a single room of a 5 stars hotel is 250 dollars the night, but cheaper offers – from 100 dollars on- can be found.
In its historical centre, a sector known as La Candelaria, there’s the classic hotel Casa de la Botica, with an architecture that takes us back to the colonial times. It is a good example of the thriving hotel sector in the city. It was there where the translation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man was printed and is currently a centre for literary encounters. Due to its location, some vital historical sights are easy to spot: Plaza de Bolívar, Museums and the Headquarters of the Judicial, Legislative and Executive Authorities… a whole architectural tapestry that explains Colombia’s History itself.
”Colombian epicenter of Conventions”
Bogotá’s growing interest for directing part of its promotions to business tourism has, in parallel, generated a structure of buildings and installations designed to get a piece of the juicy cake of congresses and conventions. According to the Bogotá Convention Bureau, the most active convention and congresses centres in the city are Cafam Floresta, El Cubo Business and Leisure Centre, Compensar, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and Villa Santa María Conventions and Events Centre. Not to forget the spectacular exhibition stand ‘Corferias’, with more than 23 commercial venues and 100.000 square metres of usable space; scenario of a complete annual agenda that includes the accredited Bogotá’s International Book Fair, the Leather Fair, Tourist Showcase, Alimentec (a famous food-fair), Expovinos (wine exhibition), Healthy Colombia and the National Exposition of Cattle Raising. Touristic and Technological fairs such as the Campus Party and the also famous ArtBo (Art Fair) are also held there. It is a tight schedule of that comprises local interests and international competency.
Why Colombia and Bogotá particularly as a business centre?
Colombia has a privileged geographical location. It is the only country in South America with access to both oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic, and the only one in the region to border five countries. These geo-strategic conditions have driven its economy once the endemic problems have been solved, although they still prevail as a noisy background. Colombia is a country of human resources and raw material. Activities related to certain sectors such as Industry, Technology, Services, Entrepreneurship and Innovation have found in Bogotá a centre in which the trendy concept ‘Glocal: we live by the local and to the global’ is possible.
To the Industrial, Business and Technological development of the past years, the weight of Universities must be added; in close connection to investigation centres and professional offices. These synergies have generated an extra value to the city, that is decisive in a moment when knowledge-based economy and the development of investigation are especially well appreciated. Many start-ups have emerged in Bogota that have placed Colombia in the vanguard of digital entrepreneurship and have made of the country a world benchmark in the sector. Colombia, for the first time in a long time, is observed now as a country that sets the pace in certain aspects of digital development.
Bogotá has recently renewed its ancient ‘El Dorado’ airport, reinforcing its condition of regional hub with hundreds of daily connections and new routes There are powerful and objective reasons that explain the take-off experienced by the Colombian capital in the last decade. But there is also an emotional aspect that, according to Bogotans, can be breathed in their streets and a general sensation of optimism and bonanza is felt. The irruption of new and exotic restaurants, the consolidation of an important commercial offer and the architectural and urban renewal have inspired a new, more cosmopolitan and open nature of universal city.
First-rate cultural offer
Bogotá was once called the Athens of South America and it was named, in 2007, the Iberian – American Capital of Culture. UNESCO also called it, that very same year, the World Capital of the Book. In a recent interview, Annie Burbano, specialist in Tourism and new technologies, founder of TurisTIC, described the benefits of Business Tourism in Bogotá and Colombia as a great economic impetus for the country. She also spoke about a Bogotá that doesn’t know itself that much and that still has a huge capital to offer and immense possibilities for development.
Juan Diego Santa Coloma, Director of QueLlevar.Travel, also highlighted the human warmth as Colombian a stand-out element. To feel at home and to long for a return, that is what tourists take in their baggages and hearts when they visit Colombia. Another interesting interview that we recommend here.
Bogotá is one of the cities with most Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the region, and Colombia is one of the main actors in the Alianza del Pacífico (Pacific Alliance). These are the privileges that do not go unseen in the development of the city and that have contributed to explore new business and expansion opportunities. It is the sign of times in a city that now feels modern and cosmopolitan, dynamic and vigorous.
Here, a list with the most attractive spots for tourists.
1. El Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) An incon of Bogotá, where you can also find more than 50 museums. The Botero Museum, second in predilection.
2. According to the figures, with the 64% of touristic preference, we have La Candelaria, Historical Centre.
3. The Hill of Monserrate, interesting for those who do religious tourism. Bogotá also has 28 temples of Heritage interest that might be attractive for tourists.
4. The Primada Cathedral and the Sanctuary of Divino Niño.
5. Bogotá is a green city, with more than 4000 parks, green areas and wetlands, where Simón Bolívar Park and the Botanical Garden stand out.
6. Maloka is another touristic benchmark, just like Mundo Aventura (Adventue Land) and the Quinta de Bolívar.
7. More than 50 shopping malls, with a special mention to Zona Rosa and Andino commercial centre, where the design stores and the gastronomic offer will surpise you.
8.The Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá, in Bogota’s outskirts. A stroll that will captivate you from beginning to end.
9. G Zone, T Zone and Usaquén, areas of restaurants with honourable mentions, where international and local gastronomy meet.
10. The Inevitable: Andrés Carne de Res (beef), in the city’s outskirts and Andrés D.C. in the Zona Rosa (Pink Zone), famous restaurants that evoke Colombia as a magic realism in its decoration.
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