ProExport, Colombia’s tourism board, launches ‘Official Colombia Bloggers’ initiative to help promote tourism within the country.
Bogota, Colombia (SEE COLOMBIA TRAVEL) March 22, 2012. In response to the rapidly growing influence of social media on the travel industry, the Colombian government’s tourism branch, Proexport, has announced an initiative to consolidate various bloggers in the country into one group of ‘Official Colombia Bloggers.’ Ostensibly, the idea is to capitalize on these already-established blogs to generate an even bigger buzz about tourism in the country, as well as to offer potential travelers a thoroughly international perspective of what it’s like to live and travel in Colombia.
This is the first time the tourism board of a country has collected such a group, and the success of it remains to be seen. Official Bloggers See Colombia Travel are confident: “When people travel today, they want to hear from someone they know has visited a place, someone with a genuine opinion. Unfortunately many travelers see professionals as jaded, and this project allows the Colombian government to inject fresh, up-to-date information into their promotional campaign,” See Colombia Travel’s Communications Manager JL Pastor explained.
For their part, See Colombia Travel have been innovatively using social media to promote their own Colombia Travel Blog for 2 years now, becoming one of the most prolific and prominent Twitter accounts based in Colombia, as well as the most popular English language blog coming out of Colombia. In their minds, social media is the only way forward.
“In 2011, 38% of travel purchases were made online, compared to just 6% in retail. 66% of people asked admitted being influenced by user reviews online, while the average consumer visited over 20 sites before making a purchase.”
“We rely heavily on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Trip Advisor to get our message across,” Pastor begins again. “Everyday we’re looking to share fresh content with the world, not only to help promote Colombia but to create a community of travelers and Colombia lovers and give them a forum in which to communicate. The way we see it, ProExport’s Official Bloggers Campaign is the best possible thing that could happen to this idea. It’s a kind of ‘official umbrella’ for us all.”
The Official Colombia Blogger project will undoubtedly open a few people’s eyes. It shows a progressive, daring attitude from a Colombia tourist board that looks increasingly in touch with what travelers today search for and expect. Though many travelers still rely on guidebooks, more and more people are becoming solely dependent on the internet to plan their adventures, where they can get up-to-the-minute advice from their peers. In 2011, 38% of travel purchases were made online, compared to just 6% in retail. 66% of people asked admitted being influenced by user reviews online, while the average consumer visited over 20 sites before making a purchase. The breadth and depth of information available online is convincing travelers to abandon traditional forms of travel media.
“A group of international bloggers gives a unique and open perspective on what to expect from the country, as well as guaranteeing a broader audience for promoting Colombia as a tourist destination.”
– JL Pastor, See Colombia Travel
Moreover, like the campaign that states ‘The Only Risk Is Wanting to Stay’, Proexport are also targeting the fears people have when coming to Colombia. Numbers are increasing (official estimates foresee over 4,000,000 foreign tourists arriving in 2012, almost double the number of 2011), yet many people remain unconvinced. The Official Colombia Bloggers campaign might change that. See Colombia Travel’s JL Pastor suggests that it could, “jolt people’s expectations by showing them what Colombia today is really like. A group of international bloggers gives a unique and open perspective on what to expect from the country, as well as guaranteeing a broader audience for promoting Colombia as a tourist destination.”
For a country that is still troubled by a misguided international perspective, this initiative should help bring the kind of publicity that the country needs and, as far as the people of Colombia are concerned, deserves.
About See Colombia Travel
See Colombia Travel consists of a team of international travel experts with a passion for Colombia committed to create the best off the shelf and customizable tours around Colombia matching Colombians astonishing destinations with international standard travel services.
Paul Fowler, Content Manager See Colombia Travel