Over at Colombia Reports, there’s a short read on recent statistics reporting that 53% of tourists to Colombia prefer Bogotá as a destination. I’m not sure I agree, well, let me put that another way. I can see why Bogotá (and I’m sure Cartagena) is a top destination being it is the capital and has a lot to offer the tourist but I think the behavior that supports such statistics is influenced by a lack of knowledge about other regions and cities within Colombia in addition to a push by tour agencies to promote a place with ‘the most to offer’ a potential tourist.
As I’ve been known to say, I have a love/hate relationship with tourism, especially towards Colombian tourism. I love Colombia and that should be quite obvious but a large part of the charm of traveling to any Colombian city is finding that tourists are far and few. On the flip side, I want Colombia to be prosperous and I want their tired, old image to be changed which means at some point, I need to relent and push for hands-on experience in order to get the true feel for what the country is and isn’t. Considering that point though (and playing a bit of Devil’s Advocate), if so many people can have an opinion of a country they’ve never visited then it must be equally true that the image they hold can be changed without them stepping foot in the country.
Perhaps my qualm, as with all tourism, is I appreciate true tourism (what some might call ‘cultural tourism’ and/or ‘eco-tourism’) over the all-too-common exploitative tourism.