Publish Time：2021-09-18 19:20:48Source：WTCF
【Introduction】：During the "WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development" held on 3 September 2021, H.E. Luis Diego Monsalve Hoyos, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia to China, accepted an exclusive interview of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), and shared Colombia's successful experience in containing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as boosting the recovery and development of tourism industry.
During the "WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development" held on 3 September 2021, H.E. Luis Diego Monsalve Hoyos, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia to China, accepted an exclusive interview of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), and shared Colombia's successful experience in containing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as boosting the recovery and development of tourism industry.
WTCF: What topics did you discuss with other representatives regarding tourism revitalization during the conference?
H.E. Luis Diego Monsalve Hoyos: Well, I think that we all understand here. We had a batch of countries all over the world. We all understand that we have to equalize and to standardize, and to have a standard regulation all over the world in order to promote and to allow the people to travel. Tourism is a very important industry in every country. If we help each other, there is something that we can have a win-win situation. We have to help each other. We have to have the same kind of standard regulations, also help, of course, with vaccination. In that way, if one country opens, the rest of the country can also open. So this is something that we already understood. And here with all the conversation with different ambassadors, we realized that this is is something that we have to work. Organizations like WTCF are the ones that could help us with that. They really promote exchanges between different countries in order to allow us to open in the future with safety, especially with safety and responsibility.
WTCF: What are your expectations for the role of WTCF in promoting world tourism?
H.E. Luis Diego Monsalve Hoyos: Bogota, our capital in Colombia is a member. In 2018, we had a very important meeting for the Latin American region. In that opportunity, people from different countries, especially from China, came to Bogota.
And there were a lot of travel agencies that were exchanging ideas, authorities that were exchanging ideas, exchanging how to promote between the two countries and the two regions in tourism, how to enhance the capabilities of our and tourist places, what kind of special ways of promoting tourism were better for, like the Chinese public. So these good exchanges in which we go, and this organization, which is all over the world, goes from region to region, promoting and helping understand how to better have tourism between each other. So that's the most important thing.
WTCF: What measures has Colombia taken to revive tourism industry since the outbreak of COVID-19. How is the recovery going?
H.E. Luis Diego Monsalve Hoyos: Unfortunately, 2020 was a very difficult year. We had a very long lock down, well, between March up until the end of the year. Then we started.
First of all, we changed a new law, which has very important tax incentives. We lower the tax for air tickets, we also lower the energy consumption rates for tourist places. There is a special tax rate for constructing new hotels and tourist facilities like only 9% tax rate. And we started to open the skies. So now at the end of 2020 and 2021, already 50% of the flights were already open and flying. By May 2021, almost 81% of the people that were coming to the country were already coming back, non residents. And apart of that, we started vaccination in February, and we expect to have a high percentage, 72% of the people in the country vaccinated by the end of the year.
WTCF: What's the future plan for Colombia in developing tourism?
H.E. Luis Diego Monsalve Hoyos: I think tourism in the near future will be especially related to safe places. I think people would start to look for more open spaces, nature, and new ways to be not like a cramped and very heavily populated places, which may be dangerous for people, or they are scared. Colombia is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world with beautiful landscape and different kind of brilliant mountains, seaside, jungle, plains, with a lot of diversity also in the terms of animals and plants. So for people who want to come to see nature, bird watching, want to see the new areas in both the Atlantic and Pacific, Colombia has all of those for the people.
WTCF: How will Colombia continue to help promote world tourism based on its own advantages?
H.E. Luis Diego Monsalve Hoyos: We want to share. We want to participate in different events like this, try to establish common regulations, try to connect to travel agencies, and look for ways of safety travel. I mean, in the near future, safety would be the most important thing you have, for example, common applications with the vaccines or the tests. So people will be more confident in travelling. And apart from that, we will try to still promote those places, show the people that they can go safely to those very beautiful and open spaces.