Music turns up the volume for Colombian tourism

Colombia’s tourist board, ProColombia, is putting the country’s musical diversity at the heart of its Marketing strategy.

The South American country is a world musical power, home of infectious rhythms such as cumbia, vallenato, salsa and champeta and boasting dozens of top global artists including J. Balvin, Shakira, Maluma and Carlos Vives.

Together with UNWTO and Sound Diplomacy, ProColombia has produced a global guide to music and tourism entitled “Music is the new gastronomy”, which examines the increasingly important relationship between music and tourist destinations. It explores how musical tourism is set to increase in a similar way to the explosion in interest of gastronomy and travel in the last few years.

Among other things, the study concludes that music can significantly enhance business opportunities for the tourism sector, while enriching the traveller experience.

It says people of all ages are searching for music-based experiences more than ever before, and are prepared to pay for them. It points to figures for the UK showing that music tourism attracted 823,000 overseas tourists, supporting 47,000 jobs and generating €4.6bn. Other figures show Portugal and Spain have seen a 500% rise in music tourists since 2014, mainly for festivals, while Norway’s musical tourism has soared by over 400%.

Music is in essence a universal and ubiquitous cultural expression and language. By including music in itineraries and trips, it is possible to drive greater revenue across the tourism sector and it is an excellent opportunity for destinations to differentiate themselves. Furthermore, and in the context of promoting a more sustainable tourism sector, music tourism can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially since it is something that can be, and is, practiced by everyone, everywhere – it promotes equality and protects intangible cultural heritage.

The new guide was presented yesterday [7 March] at the Colombian booth by ProColombia’s Vice President of Tourism, Julián Guerrero, and representatives of UNWTO and Sound Diplomacy. Reflecting the theme, the booth is itself designed like a large music box where visitors experience a musical tour of the country and can play typical Colombian instruments. The country is represented at ITB Berlin by 20 DMCs, hoteliers and regional officials.

The country’s cultural calendar is full of events, fairs and popular festivals in which Colombians celebrate their beliefs and identity through artistic expressions including music, dance, theatre, gastronomy, and religious celebrations. Examples include the Carnival of Barranquilla, one of the most important cultural expressions of the Caribbean region, the Feria de Cali and the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata.

Hall 23a / Stand 106