The use of the masculine gender has been adopted for ease of reading and has no discriminatory intent.
Exploration in solidarity lands
Colombia is a South American country with a great diversity of landscapes, from the beaches of the Caribbean to the mountains of the Andes, from the Amazon rainforest to colonial cities. In recent years, Colombia has seen a significant increase in the number of tourists, attracted by its rich culture, history, exotic nature and friendly people. The Colombian government has implemented various initiatives to promote tourism in the country, including investing in tourism infrastructure, improving security and launching international marketing campaigns to change the perception of Colombia and attract more travelers.
Within the framework of this project, particular attention will be paid to community-based rural tourism and ecotourism. Indeed, given the rural nature of the vast majority of communities visited and linked to the local partner, it makes sense to focus on them. They are often located in preserved natural areas that are vulnerable to environmental degradation. Local communities are able to protect and conserve their environment by preserving and enhancing it for tourism and educating visitors on the importance of conservation. In addition, it offers an important economic opportunity for rural communities. This translates into the creation of small businesses that support economic growth and the generation of complementary and additional income to their main activity, which is often agriculture. Visitors can buy local produce, eat locally-prepared food and take part in guided activities, among other things, helping to stimulate the local economy and preserve and enhance local culture and traditions. Finally, community-based rural tourism helps to build the capacity of the local communities involved, and is vital in preventing rural exodus and the resulting pressure on Colombia’s major cities. This also helps to preserve the often age-old traditions of small communities. Local people play an active role in promoting tourism in their community, encouraging cooperation, communication and collaboration between community members. This can help strengthen social ties and improve the quality of life for local residents.
Indeed, the tourism sector is an important driver of economic growth, business development and job creation, particularly for women, young people and local communities. Before the COVID-19 crisis, it accounted for one in ten jobs worldwide and around 10% of global GDP. The sector employs a high proportion of women and young people: in 2019, women accounted for over 50% of workers in the sector, and the majority of all tourism workers were under 35. However, tourism was one of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact on businesses, particularly MSMEs [micro, small and medium-sized enterprises], is unprecedented, and its repercussions are still being felt some years later. Beyond the economic crisis it represents for the sector, it is also a human tragedy. The Covid-19 crisis should not, however, distract us from the current climate crisis, which is not about to be brought under control. Now that we have reached the stage of tourism recovery, this recovery must be human-centred, inclusive, sustainable and resilient. Moreover, sustainable tourism can contribute to the fight against the overexploitation of natural resources in tourist destinations, and to the sustainability of economic activities in local communities.