Tourism, normally a vital component of the service sector-- particularly for a country as diverse culturally, geographically, and historically as Colombia--did not contribute significantly to economic growth. Although Colombia had attractive, modern hotels in the capital city and other major metropolitan centers and offered natural attractions such as the Caribbean coastline, remote jungles, and steep mountain ranges, persistent reports of kidnappings, assassinations, drug-related violence, and guerrilla activities diminished tourist interest in Colombia, even though foreigners generally were not the targets of this violence. The government did not actively pursue tourism.
The cost of Colombia's poor image was made evident by statistics. In 1978 more than 826,000 tourists contributed US$328.5 million to Colombia's foreign exchange earnings. By 1984 tourist arrivals had dropped to about 715,000 and had rendered only US$231 million in foreign exchange. The prospects for expanded tourist receipts, despite enormous potential, were dismal under the social conditions prevailing in the late 1980s. Analysts did not expect violence to subside, and as a result they did not believe that tourism would recover significantly.
|Country Studies main page | Colombia Country Studies main page|