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During 2013, around 87 countries in America, Asia and Europe had the opportunity to see the unique and amazing experiences that Proexport Colombia had created to win the hearts of international travelers. Some of the channels that were used to promote these efforts range from its traditional outlets including trade shows, media and presentations, to those more innovative channels such as social networks, digital applications and QR codes.
Proexport presented its strategy of "Colombia is Magical Realism" welcoming foreigners in April telling the world how reality and fantasy coalesced in its domestic destinations. Since then, they have launched a number of activities designed to position the country as an ideal leisure, corporate, conventions and incentive travel destination.
So far the strategy includes 11 posters, 4 TV ads and 11 video testimonials reaching potential travelers from all over America, Europe and Asia. The communication pieces are catered to Spanish, English, German, French and Portuguese speaking countries.
Among these activities include international tourism trade shows, public platforms where end consumers (prospects) and specialized professionals (wholesalers and travel agents) come together and share information not only about tourism but also on products and packages that are available in the more specialized niches such as diving, bird watching, corporate and luxury.
During the past eight months "Colombia is Magical Realism" has served as a platform to 25 events, grabbing the attention of the French at Top Resa, the British at the World Travel Market (WTM) and the Japanese at the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), allowing them to come closer the tourist attractions across the different Colombian regions in several segments.
Thanks to technology, the exhibitions across 17 countries have allowed visitors to try these Colombian experiences such as biking along the highest mountain in the world that rises from the sea, discovering the legend of El Dorado by indigenous remains and learning how to dance salsa with professionals.
In addition, Proexport Colombia has used targeted presentations to carry this message to key players in the international tourism sector totaling 125 this year alone and including over 9,100 wholesalers and travel agencies from 20 different markets.
"Through this tool not only are we able to transform our allies into a tourism distribution network but into Colombia is Magical Realism ambassadors and reach countries like Indonesia, where for the first time our products like adventure, culture, wellbeing, nautical and cruises, meetings and sun and beach have been showcased "said the president of Proexport Colombia, Maria Claudia Lacouture.
Although many of those attending these meetings are already selling tour packages to Colombia, there were some in this group who had the opportunity to learn what this nation represents to the industry without chimneys. According to figures from the World Tourism Organization (based on foreign tourist arrivals) the industry has grown 10.4% between 2005 and 2012.
In order to continue to spread the magic of this country, the international press (Colombia’s allies to position the country as the ideal destination in the minds of foreigners) has also been part of this process with extensive coverage showing fascination towards this this concept, which has been the product of extensive research and in fact the country’s differentiator thrilling locals and foreigners.
This is evidenced in some of the most recognized international media publications including The Financial Times from the UK and the Journal du Tourisme in France. In a larger scale CNN, Discovery Channel and CBC News have transmitted videos in several languages about the main attractions of various Colombian cities.
The evolution of promoting tourism has not been limited to just to delivering the message, but it has also reached other so-called "new media" in order to meet the demands of modern travelers who increasingly seek information, ask for advice, make decisions and make some or all logistical arrangements for their international trips.
The "Colombia is Magical Realism" campaign in addition to being active in traditional media such as print and video, it is also widely used in the most visited portals, landing pages and online tourism blogs and in several of today’s popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, and others.
"Since last April, more than seven million people around the world have seen the videos (commercials and testimonials) of Colombia is Magical Realism on YouTube. The campaign has generated more than 46,000 comments on Facebook and on Twitter, two million accounts have received our tweets" said Lacouture.
Proexport Colombia’s bet to go digital this year has gone far and beyond and allowed us to kindly come closer to people’s everyday life (airports, bus stops, magazines) with tools such as QR codes, that when activated through a smartphones, they can provide a multi -sensory experience with sounds, images and colors.
Finally, in order to win over the "online savvy" Proexport Colombia has designed a smartphone application now available in the Apple App Store in Google Store and Blackberry World, at the fingertips of the foreign visitors to lead them on a tour through the amazing and unforgettable experiences in the country. To date, more than 25,000 people in Argentina, China, Chile, Spain, France and Mexico have downloaded the app.