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The journey that birds, turtles, and whales make between August and October through the coastline of the Choco’s department was joined this year by three journalists from Canada, United States, and United Kingdom, who lived the most magical experience in their long careers thus far.
Arthur Hanna, Martin Hullett, and David Webb visited Colombia in late August to follow an agenda set forth by Proexport with the intention of promoting the adventure and nature tourism products in their respective countries.
"I have read and seen some newsclips [addressing Colombia] on TV, but this is actually my first time in South America and, truly, I had no idea [about what to expect]... After the flight and arrival, I saw the Choco and I was surprised: It's incredible!," stated Hullett, Director of the online edition of The Sun in the United Kingdom.
As with his colleagues, his reaction was not only elicited by the splendid landscape that marries a luxurious jungle with the deep Pacific Ocean, but also by the variety of endemic and visiting species like birds, turtles, and whales, presenting tourists with a one-of-a-kind natural spectacle.
During their five-day stay, the journalists had the chance to watch birds and butterflies, release turtles after hatching from eggs recovered by environmentalist groups, partake in specialized fishing, take a dip in hot springs and practice sports like kayaking and rafting.
"It's been only four or five days, but we've done a lot. The hot springs we visited were great; we went bird-watching... Seeing forest creatures everywhere was amazing," said Hanna, from the American magazine International Travel News.
However, the greatest experience came from the colossal whales (40 tons and 52.5 feet long in average) which, under the ecstatic eyes of the foreign journalists and their fiddling hands reaching for the best camera angle, playfully sailed between the waves and even sang, which they rarely do.
Whales travel about 5,282 miles from the South Pole every year to the warm waters of Colombia, the perfect spot to mate, give birth to their calves, and teach them how to breathe. For years, agencies have held enticing tours for visitors around this event.
"I have seen things I've never seen before [in this trip]: Releasing turtles, watching whales and hearing them sing; I will always remember this. I didn't even know this was possible, but it can happen here in Colombia," explained Webb, Editor of Canadian magazine, Explore, which covers the outdoors lifestyle.
After their stop in Bahia Solano, Nuqui, and the Utria Natural National Park in-between, the journalists agreed that what they had just experienced could only be called magical, a mix between fantasy and reality, which gave birth to the core concept for the new tourism campaign by Proexport.
Since last April, "Colombia is Magical Realism" is spearheading Proexport's strategy to position Colombia as the perfect tourism destination for vacations, conferences, conventions, incentive trips, and golf tournaments among foreign travelers.
"If you are really interested in living an adventure, enjoying a unique cultural experience, meeting wonderful people and bringing magical realism to life, Colombia truly has it all," pointed out the Canadian journalist when asked about the most noteworthy items.
Other people in the group went beyond extolling the region's attractions and invited tourists from all around the world to travel and enjoy everything this country has to offer as their gateway to South America.
"I have seen birds and all kinds of animals and vegetation I didn't know existed and had never heard about. It's been wonderful for this, and for the food, and the people; everyone should visit Choco and visit Colombia," concluded Hullett before returning to London.
"The best people who spread our invitation to the world to come to Colombia are those who, like these journalists, have already experienced its charms. Besides, as they are opinion leaders who influence the decisions of their readers when it's time to choose their next vacations destination, the effect is greater," stated Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport.