MONTEVIDEO – The flow of Colombian tourists to Uruguay has increased nearly tenfold in the past four years, Tourism Minister Liliam Kechichian said.
“Four years ago, between 3,000 and 4,000 Colombian tourists came to Uruguay. Today, there are 32,000. It is not much, but we see it growing,” she said in an interview with Radio Uruguay.
The tourism ministry has set a goal of attracting more tourists from Colombia, Mexico and Peru, where people know little about Uruguay, she said.
Other objectives, Kechichian said, include fostering the growth of gay friendly tourism and improving the skills and training of workers and managers in Uruguay’s hospitality industry.
Uruguay received 2.96 million international visitors last year, just a few thousand short of the record set in 2011, the minister said.
“But if we add cruise ship passengers, we are already above the 3 million mark,” she said.
Tourism “is a primary economic activity” in Uruguay, generating 7.7 percent of gross domestic product and employing 8 percent of the workforce, Kechichian said.