Tourism: International Visitors to Bogotá Increased by 22.9% in 2023

Tourism: International Visitors to Bogotá Increased by 22.9% in 2023Photo: Bogotá District Tourism Institute
Bogotá Tourism unveils the results of the 2023 Travelers research, a comprehensive report based on interviews with over 70,000 visitors to the city.

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Translated by Andrés Martínez Forero

The Bogotá Tourism Institute (IDT), via its Tourism Observatory, has released the findings from its latest study, the 2023 Travelers research. This study aimed to quantify and characterize the visitors who traveled to Colombia’s capital throughout 2023. The detailed profiling of these tourists, including their origins, gender, age, and travel motivations, provides critical data that helps city planners and tourism entrepreneurs tailor their offerings and marketing strategies to meet visitor needs.

(Check out: 'Visit Bogotá': Your Mobile Guide to Colombia’s Capital)

Andrés Santamaría, the director of the IDT, stated, “This report provides key insights not just into visitor behaviors in Bogotá but also into how tourism impacts the local economy and urban planning of the Colombian capital.” Although the report highlights several key points, Santamaría emphasized the increase in both national and international tourists in Bogotá, confirming a rise of 22.9% (1,385,979) in international visitors and 8.6% (10,961,897) in Colombian travelers, compared to the same period in 2023.

“This is a very positive sign that we have surpassed the pre-pandemic levels (2019) of national visitors to Bogotá by 3.8%,” confirmed Santamaría.

Furthermore, the local economy of Bogotá demonstrated a particularly active dynamic compared to more moderate global and national trends. The tourism sector, specifically targeting accommodation and food services, has become significant, contributing 2.9% to the city’s total GDP. This sector reflects the post-pandemic recovery and Bogotá’s ability to attract both national and international tourists, crucial for the city’s economic revitalization.

Regarding inflation, Bogotá recorded a rate of 9.28% in 2023, slightly higher than the national average by 0.15 percentage points. Although this figure is high, it represents a decrease of 2.92 percentage points from the previous year, indicating a trend towards price stabilization in a still challenging economic environment. The sectors that most influenced inflation in Bogotá include accommodation, utilities, transportation, restaurants, hotels, and food and non-alcoholic beverages.

(Also read. Bogotá Ranks Among Top Three Cities for Business Tourism in Latin America)

These findings not only underscore Bogotá’s economic recovery in a post-COVID-19 pandemic context but also highlight the importance of the tourism sector as a growth engine. “Surveys like these allow us to understand the changing dynamics of tourism, enabling Bogotá to optimize its infrastructure and services to enhance the tourist experience and maximize economic benefits,” added the director of Tourism Bogotá.

Key Findings from the 2023 Travelers Research in Bogotá

  • In 2023, the arrival of international tourists in Bogotá grew by 22.9% (1,385,979) compared to the previous year. This growth reflects a significant recovery from 2019, close to 73% (pre-pandemic levels).
  • Domestic tourism also showed robust growth in 2023, increasing by 8.6% (10,961,897) compared to 2022. Additionally, levels surpassed those of 2019 by 3.8% (pre-pandemic).
  • The United States was the top country of origin for international tourists visiting Bogotá (18.4% of the total), followed by Ecuador (10.8%) and Peru (9.8%).
  • At the national level, the departments with the most visitors were Boyacá (1,339,274), Antioquia (994,583), and Santander (897,209).
  • International tourism in Bogotá does not have a specific seasonality. In fact, in 2023, October saw the highest number of tourists (213,712), while May saw the fewest (69,349). For domestic tourism, December had the highest number of visitors (1,331,635) and August the fewest (667,967).
  • Regarding accommodation, 48.6% of international tourists chose to stay in hotels, while 57.6% of national tourists preferred staying with relatives or friends.
  • The per capita spending of international tourists was approximately 4 million pesos, while that of national tourists was more than 300,000 pesos.
  • International tourists spent just over 500,000 pesos per day, compared to 130,000 pesos per day for national tourists.
  • Vacation, recreation, and leisure were the main travel motives for international tourists, accounting for 48% of these. For national tourists, the main reason for travel was visiting family and friends, accounting for 38.7%.
  • Cultural and gastronomic activities were significant among both international and national tourists, with 50% of international tourists participating in cultural events and 45.8% exploring the gastronomic offerings.
  • The most visited sites by tourists were restaurants and shopping centers, with 62.2% of international tourists visiting restaurants and 56.2% going to shopping centers.
  • In 2023, Bogotá generated approximately 9.7 trillion pesos from tourism, highlighting the sector's importance to the local economy and the need for effective strategies for its future development and sustainability.

According to Santamaría, “This report underscores the importance of tourism to Bogotá's economy and the need for policies and strategies that promote sustainable development of the sector, ensuring that the city is prepared to face future challenges and maximize economic growth opportunities derived from tourism.”

Learn more: Bogotá: Colombia's Second Most Popular Tourist Destination, per Google Insights

Technical Information

A total of 74,188 personalized surveys were conducted with visitors to Bogotá aged 18 and over, at El Dorado Airport and the El Salitre Transport Terminal, using mobile devices throughout the year 2023.