LATAM e-News | Special Edition: Medellin – July 2018 Arturo´s Letter
Arturo García Rosa
President & Founder, SAHIC
SAHIC 2018 in Medellin, Colombia, at the height of the business boom consolidating its leadership in the region.
Every year, as the second day of SAHIC’s annual meeting takes place, conversations and speculations regarding next year’s venue become an open secret.
Year after year SAHIC has demonstrated the importance of mobilizing the annual event of this must-attend meeting of the world of hotels and tourism, after eleven years of uninterrupted success.
At this point nobody doubts the need to reserve in their agenda the time to attend the meeting that allows us to keep up to date with the world of investments in the industry, with the information about where the industry is going, what is happening and, above all, what is coming next.
SAHIC, of which I have heard more than once as being “like a club”, has achieved precisely that, a recognized quality of belonging, a space where the major actors get together with the medium and small ones, those with a long trajectory with those who are starting out and even with those who are just beginning to perceive what it is all about. Undoubtedly, the essential annual compendium.
But aside from that, this determined vocation of rotation in the region has allowed SAHIC to be an important bridging platform for key players who may have postponed time and time again the knowledge of new opportunity destinations, such as, of course, the countless markets throughout the region.
Colombia is undoubtedly going through a very unique moment.
In political terms, on August 7, the current president Santos, who is responsible for the memorable signing of the peace agreement in his country, will end his term in office to hand over responsibility to President-elect Iván Duque, the candidate of the alliance promoted by former presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana, among others.
In his early speeches, Duque pledged to respect peace and to work hard on the path to national reconciliation, while proclaiming himself a serious advocate of the importance of tourism in the development of Colombia, which throughout his campaign he has referred to as “A Colombia for all of us”.
Regarding tourism, the subject is decidedly impressive.
In 2017, Colombia received a remarkable 6.5 million tourists and so placed itself among the historic and lonely leaders of the region, Brazil and Argentina.
Someone could say that “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”, but everything seems to be so that this is not something temporary but the consequence of a series of factors that demonstrate that apart from the crack that many Colombians mention, the country is united in the access to great objectives.
The policy of tax relief for investments in hotels, the consequent work in promoting investment attraction, the policy of promotion and that unforgettable finding of “The only risk is wanting to stay”, the signing of the peace agreement, among others, were undoubtedly all important links in a chain that is beginning to show its fruits.
In the first five months of 2018, the January-May period of this year, tourism has taken another significant leap forward, showing a growth of 38.1% compared to the same period last year. While in 2017 there were 2.45 million foreign visitors in 2018 there were 3.38 million, truly incredible.
And this growth in the number of foreign visitors is having an impact on foreign exchange earnings from tourism. During the first quarter of 2018, revenues reached US$1.68 billion, compared to US$1.36 billion in the same period of 2017, an increase of 23.4% year-on-year.
The second city of Colombia, capital of the department of Antioquia, the city of “eternal spring” (an average climate of 24ºC), home of the famous Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero, with a vast commercial and industrial activity and a hectic cultural life, is preparing to host the eleventh edition of SAHIC South America.
Medellin aims to receive 2.5 million tourists in 2019. Meanwhile, in the first five months of this year it has already exceeded one million visitors.
All is ready for this great annual party of the hotel and tourism business, which is SAHIC, taking place on September 24th and 25th at the InterContinental Medellin.
We look forward to seeing you there.