Colombia aims for post-pandemic tourism market

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Gideon Long in Santa Marta

It may be a while before crowds of foreign visitors return to Colombia’s top tourist attraction, the beautiful walled city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast.

In normal circumstances, thousands descend from cruise ships and international flights to wander its narrow streets, relax in its boutique hotels and gaze at its graceful, colonial-era architecture and balconies draped with bougainvillea.

But coronavirus is likely to diminish city tourism, at least until a vaccine is developed. Travel industry experts say that, in a world grappling with Covid-19, tourists will visit quieter, less urban and more sustainable destinations that allow them to take off their masks, explore backwaters and forget about the pandemic – at least for a couple of weeks.