With the purpose of carrying out an oxygenation, cleaning and adaptation of the different spas located in the urban area of Santa Marta, this Wednesday, August 3, the access of bathers to the beaches and rivers of tourist vocation of the District will be closed.
The restriction will apply to the beaches of El Rodadero, Bahía, Los Cocos, Taganga, Bello Horizonte, Cabo Tortuga, Plenomar, Playa Blanca.
Likewise, in the case of Playa Blanca, within the framework of the actions for the Blue Flag certification of this area, it will be closed on Wednesday, August 3 and Thursday, August 4.
It should be noted that this measure will apply in rural areas only on Tuesday, August 2, and will be repeated on the first Tuesday of October and December. While in the urban area it will be repeated on the first Wednesday of those same months, as established by Decree 217 of October 1, 2021.
These restrictions are arranged between the different tourism actors to balance human activity and compensate the environment and give it a break, before and after seasons of high demand from locals and tourists.
Tourism: new engine of development in Colombia
One of the sectors most affected by the arrival of the coronavirus was tourism. According to the Colombian Tourist Information Center (Citur), in 2019 there were 2.81 million foreign visitors and by 2020 this figure fell by more than 70%, for a total of 791,673 tourists. A year later, the recovery began to be felt strongly, with the arrival of 1.03 million travellers.
María Ximena Lombana, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, points out that “despite the impact that the pandemic had on tourism, it has managed to recover to historical levels.” For this year, the arrival of 3.1 million travelers from abroad is projected. A figure that would exceed that of 2021 by 49%.
For a few years, Colombia has bet on the growth of the sector through cruise tourism. Cartagena has become one of the favorite destinations. Figures from the Port of Cartagena indicate that during the 2021-2022 season there were 80 landfalls, with nearly 72,000 passengers and 60,000 crew members, who left more than 13 million dollars.
María Bonillas Guardo, coordinator of the Cartagena Cruise Terminal, affirms that tourism, particularly cruises, “are opportunities for growth and economic development for the country.” He adds that it is very important to advance a joint agenda that encourages the arrival of more cruise ships and new shipping lines, “because to the extent that we manage to attract more visitors, the greater the possibilities for everyone, since tourism has a positive impact on different actors of trade and providers of various services”. However, she emphasizes that one of the main challenges of the sector is to make this growth sustainable, to irrigate more actors and to increase the number of people who benefit economically.