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Colombia: Through the Eyes of Expat Bloggers

On February 20, 2012, Colombia's ‘official travel guide‘ will launch a platform where foreign bloggers writing in Spanish, English, German, French, and Portuguese will share their experiences living and traveling in Colombia. The site aims to inspire travelers, investors and anyone interested in the country to discover a side of Colombia that tends to get lost amidst negative press.

All participating bloggers are listed by language on the website, which links to their personal blogs and a short profile. One of these bloggers is Kristin Rads, a math teacher living in Cali who blogs in Coffee, Calculations & Colombia. She provides some context in a post about the project:

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.

"Official Blogger" logo found on the personal blog of participating bloggers

"Official Blogger" logo found on the personal blog of participating bloggers

Blogger and Community Manager, Eloy Quiros, blogged about the first gathering of the “official bloggers” held in Bogotá. He shares some photos in his blog [es].

Blogger and freelance journalist Richard McColl was also there:

And so, a day like today, I did not feel all alone as a voice in the wilderness (read: the wilds of Mompós or the urban-scapes of Bogota) trying to sell this country despite all of the negative media surrounding it. I got to meet other like-minded souls all promoting their own particular enterprises be it guide literature, travel agencies, restauranteurs and travellers.

And why today? Well, today was the launch of the Official Blogger for Colombia launch held by Proexport in the remarkably swish Hotel de la Opera in Bogota’s scenic if congested colonial Candelaria area.

Apparently we number 33 in total and represent the expat community that has been the basis for the new gambit being used by the travel promotion community here: Colombia, el Riesgo es Que Quieres Quedar….Colombia, the Only Risk is Wanting to Stay.

Food blogger Diana Holguín from Bogotá Eats + Drinks, who also attended the event, explains:

33 bloggers, yours truly included, will share their stories about Colombia with the world, through their eyes, ears and taste-buds, enticing tourists and investors alike to come and experience Colombia. [...]

Each blogger will be required to post at least twice a month and in exchange we’ll increase web traffic to our blog page and have the possibility of receiving invitations to special events and trips to some of Colombia’s hottest destinations.

'Official Bloggers' meeting for the first time in Bogotá. Image courtesy of www.seecolombia.travel/blog, used with permission.

'Official Bloggers' meeting for the first time in Bogotá. Image courtesy of www.seecolombia.travel/blog, used with permission.

José Luis Pastor and Marcela Mariscal from See Colombia Travel Blog describe it as “a very international affair”:

with writers coming from Peru, Colombia, Spain, the US, the UK, Belgium, France and many more countries. Each blog or page also has a very different genesis – some are hostels in Colombia, some are webpages about Colombia, some are blogs about Colombia, some are travel agencies in Colombia. All, however, have a united goal: to promote Colombia and encourage fellow travellers to explore this fascinating, diverse country.

Mike Ceaser also introduces the project in his blog Mike's Bogotá Blog. In his opinion it is:

a good, low-budget strategy for Colombia, and something which would have been near impossible just a few years ago, when the news was dominated by bombings, kidnapping and narcotrafficking and the country was off limits to all but real thrill seekers. Certainly, Colombia still has problems, but those are now secondary to the nation's economic growth, its cultural diversity and its tremendous biodiversity.

You can read more posts about the initiative from bloggers Antoine Perret [fr], Kelsi Mills, Anny Vasconcelos [pt], and Leandra Felipe [pt]. You can also keep up with the bloggers on Twitter through the hashtag #CTBlogger.

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