Since its foundation in 1949, ANATO’s main objective has been to highlight the role and importance of travel agents in Colombia, in addition to guaranteeing and protecting the future of the tourism sector in the country. The organization created the ANATO Tourism Showcase in 1982, and since its inaugural edition in the city of Popayan, the event has served as a vitally important commercial tool for travel agents and professionals from the industry. The showcase provides a unique space where tourism products and services offered by Colombia and over 35 other countries can be found under one roof.
Bogota was chosen to be the annual host of the showcase during the 1990s, and since then the tourism industry has rolled into town each year to take over the Colombian capital. The Corferias conference center is currently responsible for hosting the country’s foremost tourism event. All of the stakeholders of the tourism sector in Colombia, such as airlines, hotel chains, tour operators, tourism representation offices and travel agents, will have the opportunity to promote their products and services and discover everything that is currently going on in the industry.
Throughout its different editions, the Tourism Showcase has featured the participation of numerous guest countries from all over the world, with Brazil, France, and the US standing out among them. The guest country chosen for the 2020 event is Peru, and the Colombian city of Villavicencio has been selected to underline its potential in the sector.
Paula Cortés, the president of ANATO, asserts that the tourism industry has a bright future in the country, thanks to government support and the priority given to the sector in state policy. She also explains that one of the proposed targets for the coming years is to attract more than 5 million international tourists and increase the number of visits to domestic destinations or little-explored regions of the country.
The event’s wide international support is demonstrated by the presence of 38 countries at this year’s 42nd edition. This is proven further by the participation of close to 1300 exhibitors and co-exhibitors who, over the course of three days, aim to make it clear why Colombia and Bogota are worthy of being a globally-recognized tourist destination.
Tourism in the Colombian capital
Bogota is positioning itself as a tourism center of Colombia and Latin America. Thanks to its strategic location, the city has established itself as a transit point and airline hub. Its air connectivity has increased in recent years, and the Bogota Institute of Tourism (IDT) states that a total of 4,649,915 passengers passed through the Colombian capital in 2019, taking advantage of the 48 direct routes offered by El Dorado International Airport.
In addition, Bogota attracts tourists from across Colombia and the whole world. Among local tourists, the presence of visitors from the Antioquia, Valle del Cauca and Cundinamarca departments stands out. At international level, the trend to choose Colombia as a travel destination has grown over the last few years, with the country receiving constant visits from people from Mexico, the US, Germany and Peru, according to IDT.