Travel and Tourism - Colombia - May 2009
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In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Colombia’s tourism industry was in the doldrums, with international tourist arrivals hovering between 600,000 and 700,000 annually. During that period, the government was embroiled in fighting paramilitary groups and anti-government insurgents, whose illegal activities were being fuelled by the drug trade. Colombia, in other words, had an image problem and that was keeping tourists away.
Since 2002, however, when President Alvaro Uribe took office (he was elected for a second time in May 2006), the tourism industry has slowly been making a comeback. With military and financial aid from the US, the government has managed to curb the violence, disarm some of the guerrilla groups, increase security, boost the economy and put Colombia back on track. In 2007, the country registered 1.2 million tourists – more than double the number in 2003. Tourism revenues jumped to US$1.7 billion, up from US$893 million in 2003.
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