FINANCIAL TIMES | 10/6/2009 12:00:00 AM
SPECIAL REPORT: COLOMBIA 2009
The Financial Times created a special report on Colombia. It includes in depth articles about Colombia, President Alvaro Uribe, the security situation, and the country's most important industries. Here are some of the articles.
Confidence returns after years of turmoil.
As rebranding exercises go, Colombia – a country racked by 45 years of guerrilla warfare and the violent rise of drug trafficking – has been a challenge, concedes the woman who heads the country’s export, tourism and industry promotion agency.
While even the most enthusiastic Colombian would admit many problems remain, the exercise seems to have worked. Foreign direct investment is up, as is the number of tourists.
“When I used to knock on the doors of cruise executives, the first thing they said to me was, ‘You’re kidding me’,” says Maria Claudia Lacouture, general manager of Colombia is Passion.
In 2005, when the agency was formulating its strategy, research showed that when Americans thought about Colombia, these things came to mind: “drugs, guerrillas, Pablo Escobar, coffee” and Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian dictator the US deposed in 1989, who had links with the country’s drugs barons.
Four years later, after determined courting of cruise lines and key markets and an advertising campaign advising tourists that the “the only risk is wanting to stay”, Colombia is attracting more than 1.2m visitors a year – double the number in 2002. The US is its biggest market, followed by Venezuela, Ecuador, Spain, Peru, Mexico and Argentina.
More than 206,000 cruise passengers docked in Cartagena, the Spanish colonial port town, in 2008, up from 108,892 in 2007, when the Royal Caribbean line, the world’s second biggest cruise line, returned to the market.
Read the complete report here.
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