"How did you choose Colombia?"
"Is it safe there?"
"Are there still a lot of drugs?"
Here I am three years into expatriate living and yet, every time I tell a new person about where I live, they ask me all the stereotypical questions. Questions that relate back to the international image that Colombia had, however well deserved, about 20 years ago.
Now? That image is outdated. Yes, there are still things Colombia as a country can do to improve, but overall everyone I talk to seems to think it is a much different and much improved place. I couldn't agree more, and as much as I have loved having the wonderful tourism opportunities here be off the well-paved gringo backpacking trail, it's high time people truly discovered all this place has to offer.
Turns out other people think this too - Cali was one of New York Times' 41 Places to Go in 2011 and Colombia was one of New York Times' Top 31 Places to Go in 2010. Now, Colombia is taking this moment to seize some of the positive press that has been building in recent years and really remake the international image of the country. Leading the charge in this is a company named Proexport. Since November 1992, Proexport has been in charge of promoting exports, foreign investments, and international tourism within Colombia - and for 2012, they are stepping up their game in a big way.
Pairing up with 30 expatriate and/or travel bloggers, Proexport aims to provide potential tourists with a complete, updated look at a country with so much opportunity for growth in the tourism industry. As one of these chosen travel bloggers, I am so excited to be working with this talented group of people to promote a country that will always have a big place in my heart. The Official Travel Blogger program will feature English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and French bloggers writing about travels and experiences within Colombia. Check out my page here!
While the details still seem to be in process, as this is very much a new thing for Colombia and Proexport, I think the benefits of seeing a place like Colombia flourish will be well worth my time spent writing a bit more about this place I call home! The program officially began this week in Bogota, and while I was unable to attend due to school, I am excited for the February 20th kick-off of posted articles as well as getting to know some of the other bloggers. In the mean time I will be busy pondering my first blog post...turns out three years has given me a lot of material to pull from!