With more than 800 weekly flights to Colombia, this South American country is without a doubt one of the hottest spots to visit. In the last few years, the country has caught the attention of 19 airlines that now offer flights to Colombia from all over the world, and interest continues to grow. On July 17, airline carrier Avianca opened a new flight between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Cartagena’s Rafael Nunez International Airport. The new flight will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with a continuing flight to the city of Pereira in Colombia’s Coffee Cultural Landscape. Later this year, on Oct. 29th, JetBlue Airways will start a nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to Cartagena four times a week.
It is not only air carriers who are setting their eyes on Colombia. International hotel chains are also making plans of opening new properties throughout the country in 2014. By the end of this year, Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MICT) expects that 6,964 additional hotel rooms will be available in Colombia, adding to the 15,245 hotel rooms that were built from 2004 to 2012. New properties include Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourismand more.
To take advantage of this positive growth and interest in the country, Proexport Colombia has debuted an online education program for travel agents where they can become Colombia specialists at their convenience, through a combination of online training courses, and various other informational and relationship-building resources.
The program includes an online course with 22 sections where agents will learn about Colombian gastronomy, culture, adventure, beaches, and all sorts of unique experiences—including numerous festivals, bird and whale watching, diving and salsa dancing—as well as detailed descriptions on destinations like Cartagena, Medellin, Cali, the Amazon region, and many others. Travel agents will also find important information such as visa requirements and a summary of “must visit” and “must dos” to offer their clients when planning their trip to Colombia.
The course ends with a 20-question test, after which agents can obtain the Colombia Specialist certification diploma. Agents also receive other benefits, including two credits from The Travel Institute, priority invitation to Colombia FAMs, a listing of the agent’s name on the country’s official website, colombia.travel, free materials and support.
All travel agents and tour operators are encouraged to take advantage of the free Colombia Specialist online course. Those interested can register at colombia.travel/en/elearning.