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Colombia was selected as the best eco-tourism destination at the Chinese World Travel Fair in Shanghai, an event which brought together more than 550 exhibitors from across the world and in which Colombia surpassed Russia, Sri Lanka, and Seychelles, said the president of Proexport Colombia, María Claudia Lacouture.
The award was presented during a ceremony organized by the steering committee of the World Travel Fair and the Shanghai Tourism Office which also recognized the best destinations, hotels, airlines, routes and travel agencies.
The jury, which was composed of members of the “Love Travel, Love the Earth” travel club, tourism industry professionals, and representatives of various media outlets, selected Colombia as the category winner thanks to the biodiversity and variety of experiences which the country has to offer the tourist seeking to experience nature.
“Colombia has taken a step forward in the promotion of its tourism industry across the world by winning this international award. Nature as a product forms part of the 36 unique experiences that Proexport promotes around the world. For example, a market like Asia’s is going to find options such as bird and whale watching interesting, as well the richness in biodiversity, climates, and places,” asserted María Claudia Lacouture, president of Proexport Colombia.
The award represents an opportunity for Colombia to promote itself actively to Chinese travelers, especially in Shanghai, the city which produces the most Chinese tourists.
A study by Proexport found that there has been a change of consumption patterns in China, and traveling on holidays has become a trend and necessity for the Chinese. They also seek to get to know other countries and visit exotic locations, as they believe that foreign travel corresponds with cultural enrichment.
This favors what Colombia has to offer, as it is a country very much in line with the tourism interests of the Chinese public. Colombia has the greatest number of bird species, 1,907, of which around 80 are endemic. It is the country with the largest number of humming bird species, with 155, as well as butterflies, with 3,000 families and 14 thousand species. It also has 456 species of mammals, representing 7% of the global total. In addition, it has ancient cultures in protected natural areas and two oceans, ideal for enjoying different types of underwater diving. These were the key factors that resulted in Colombia’s selection in the Chinese travel fair.
According to Euromonitor International, China is the greatest outbound tourism market in the world, with more than 97 million travelers in 2013 and a tourism spend of more than 100 million Euros. According to information from the Colombian Immigration Department, 8,087 Chinese travelers visited Colombia in 2013, a 5.8% increase compared to 2012, when it welcomed 7,646.