MEDELLIN, Colombia – The Colombian city of Medellin will be the scene next May 7-9 of the annual meeting of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), the Medellin Convention Bureau announced Friday.
“At this meeting, close to 50 companies will learn about the touristic experiences offered by the host city in order to subsequently promote them,” Medellin’s Undersecretary of Tourism, Juliana Cardona, said about the event known as the USTOA Out of Country Meeting.
USTOA sells $13.5 billion worth of travel packages per year, gets some 8 million tourists traveling and generates $9.8 million in goods and services purchased, which together comprise 80 percent of the US tourist market.
“Medellin was chosen for this event because it has a series of unique advantages that make it attractive for US tourism,” said General Manager Camilo Calderon of Metropolitan Touring Colombia in a statement.
The executive said the attractions of the Antioquia provincial capital include “its coffee, being known worldwide for its process of social inclusion, the artistic legacy of Fernando Botera and being on the cutting edge of fashion.”
According to the Medellin Convention Bureau citing figures from the Medellin and Antioquia System of Tourism Indicators (Situr), tourists to this Colombian city come mainly from the United States, Panama, Mexico, Venezuela and Peru.
A total of 75,196 US travelers visited Medellin last year while 31,416 visitors came from Panama, both numbers higher than in 2015.
Visits of tourists from the UK, Peru and Ecuador also increased, the report said.
Medellin in 2016 had the biggest growth of any Colombian city in the number of foreign visitors, with a 24 percent hike over the previous year compared with the national average of 12 percent.