After the hard blow of the pandemic in the tourism industry, the sector has slowly managed to recover the figures, however, they are still much lower than in 2019.
According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), inbound tourism spending (which encompasses the activities carried out by a non-resident visitor in the country, as part of a tourist trip) it went from $13.8 trillion in 2020 to $16.2 trillion in 2021, which represented a growth of 17.5%.
However, compared to 2019, inbound tourism spending decreased by 34.4%, going from $24.4 billion to $16.2 billion.
Compared, Inbound tourism spending in 2019 showed an increase of 23.4% compared to 2018, going from $20 billion pesos to $24.7 billion pesos.
In the last year, the expense was mainly related to the purchase of food and beverage provision services with $4.9 billion (a figure that in 2020 was $5 billion), followed by tourism consumer goods (products purchased by visitors in the course of their trips for their own use or as a gift) with $3.2 billion, road passenger transport services with $2.5 billion and accommodation services for visitors with $2.1 billion.
Regarding tourist flows, in 2021 there was an increase of 63.8%, going from 992,000 people in 2020 to 1.6 million people in 2021. In 2020, the flow of tourists presented a decrease of 71.5% compared to 2019. In other words, compared to 2021 and the pre-pandemic period, there is a considerable decrease in visitors of 54.2%.
In domestic tourism, for 2021 the total expenditure was $9.2 billion, which compared to 2020 reflects a growth of 19.5%, which had $7.6 billionbut compared to 2019, the gap continues to be much larger, since the last pre-pandemic year of spending on domestic tourism was $16.3 billion.
However, this figure, which continues on the road to recovery, was driven mainly by food and beverage provision services with $2.7 trillion, followed by other services with $1.4 trillion, consumer goods with $1.3 trillion and services trucking with $1.1 billion.
Usually, domestic tourism trips presented a growth of 32.1% for 2021, going from 19.4 million in 2020 to 25.7 million in 2021.
Hiking recorded an expense of $938,000 million pesos for 2021, which represented a growth of 37.3% compared to the immediately previous year. Likewise, trips associated with hiking for 2021 showed a growth of 33.0%, going from 13.0 million in 2020 to 17.3 million in 2021.
In internal travel, an expense of $8.2 billion was recorded. This figure, like the previous ones, was driven by food and beverage provision services ($2.3 trillion), consumer goods ($1.1 trillion) and lodging services ($1 trillion).
On the other hand, outbound tourism, which refers to Colombians traveling outside the territory, recorded a total expenditure of $11.9 billion pesos for 2021, which represented a growth of 105.4% compared to 2020 where the figure stood at $5.7 trillion.
For 2020, outbound tourism presented a decrease of 68.2% compared to the immediately previous year. Although compared to the year of the pandemic there was a notable recovery in 2021, compared to 2019, there is a decrease of 35%.
In this sense, spending was mainly represented by investment in tourism consumer goods with $2.3 trillion, followed by accommodation services for visitors with $2.1 trillion, and food and beverage provision services with $1.9 trillions.
In this industry, the flows of people for 2021 grew 226.1% compared to the immediately previous year, going from 707.5 thousand people in 2020 to 2.3 million in the last year. On the other hand, for 2020, the flows of people presented a decrease of 76.0% compared to 2019.
For the Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (Anato), this new year came much stronger than 2021, even in the first quarter of the year, the nominal income of Travel Agencies reached the pre-pandemic level.
“We are moving from recovery to growth. We feel proud because despite the adversities, the Agencies continue to show their strength. They had a reduction in employed personnel, but even so they managed to recover the level of nominal income, prior to the pandemic”, said Paula Cortés, executive president of Anato.
As a plan to counteract this situation, the associated travel agencies implemented actions such as the creation of new commercial alliances (52%), designed innovative tourist packages (44%) and 42% invested in the digital offer of their products and services.
For the commercial airline sector, there has also been an improvement.
According to Viajala, the flight platform, the recovery of the Colombian air market is 112%, well above the world average.
“The search for international flights between January and April 2022 in Colombia jumped 44% compared to the same period in 2021”This was stated by Thomas Allier, CEO of the flight search engine.
PAULA GALEANO BALAGUERA