A Note from SATW’s President, Elizabeth Harryman Lasley
When people who have traveled to Colombia speak of the country, they often use the word “enchanting” or “enchanted.”
Perhaps that’s fitting for the birthplace of magical realism. After all, it’s the land that inspired the novels of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez, the paintings and sculptures of world-famous artist Fernando Botero, and even Disney’s 2022 Academy Award-winning animated film Encanto.
Now, we SATW members can experience Colombia for ourselves. We can catch the modern, sophisticated vibe of Bogotá, the capital city. We can learn about the indigenous people whose intricate gold works from the first century A.D. still dazzle. We can explore the countryside and see rivers that change colors. And maybe even indulge in a game of Tejo, the national pastime.
I hope you’ll attend this, SATW’s first international convention since the pandemic’s onset. In addition to the chance to visit Colombia, the convention will offer outstanding professional development sessions that promise to help us all improve our skills so that we can better succeed in today’s constantly changing media landscape. The popular “Meet the Editors” program will be back, and Marketplace will be in person for the first time in two years.
Convention Co Chairs Lydia Schrandt and Laurie Armstrong Gossy have done an amazing job of organizing things, and they have amassed a stellar team of volunteers who have dedicated long hours and enormous creativity to ensure a productive convention that you’ll find vital to your work. My thanks to them all.
Come join me. After these challenging past years, we could all use a touch of enchantment.
Elizabeth Harryman Lasley
A Note from The ProColombia Team
Hello all –
We’re so excited to welcome you to the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Convention here in Bogotá, Colombia. As the most welcoming place on Earth, we’re eager for you to experience how Colombia, and specifically, our people, make travelers feel at home with warmth, service, and empathy.
As a result of being an international destination, Colombia offers ease of travel from the United States. In fact, Bogotá, our capital, is only 3.5 hours from Miami, 4.5 hours from Washington, D.C., and about 6 hours from New York. Additionally, ten cities in the United States are connected to nine cities in Colombia through eight airlines, and to date, there are more than 370 flights and over 60,000 seats available per week. Covid restrictions have also loosened, giving international travelers the option to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or antigen test taken up to 72 hours before entering the country.
Among our many offerings, Colombia is a country rich in culture, nature and meaningful travel experiences, with a strong focus on sustainability. We are the most biodiverse country per square meter in the world and #1 in bird species, with over 1,900 identified. Colombia also remains a safe destination for all types of travelers.
Following the pandemic-related events of the past two years, Colombia has rapidly rebounded, and is leading the recovery in the region. We are among the top 10 travel destinations for this summer with the highest number of reservations, according to ForwardKeys. This past year, 2.1 million non-resident visitors arrived in the country, an increase of 52% compared to 2020. We also ended 2021 with 93% of the seats and 90% of the international flights that we had back in February 2020, before the pandemic.
This year, we’ve hosted a variety of top tier events, including our 90th Business Matchmaking Forum, which saw over 1,000 international attendees, showing immense confidence in our country. Positive sentiment of Colombia is further bolstered by its portrayal in the media, recognizing it as a must-visit destination for sustainability, solo travel and luxury, among other attributes.
Bogota, specifically, hosts several international meetings and events each year and has been recognized recently as the “Leading City of Business Tourism” in South America by the World Travel Awards. Just a few weeks ago, the capital hosted the 17th World Congress of Neurosurgery with over 1,500 international attendees. It is also worth mentioning that last year, Colombia hosted over 91 major events, including the ICCA Congress in Cartagena and the FIEXPO Latin America.
As we look to the future, we are continuing to leverage our country’s welcoming nature, vibrant culture, vast natural offerings and easy access from the United States and Canada, to encourage travelers to come visit. We will also continue to remind them that health and safety are a top priority for us at ProColombia.
Thank you again for being here. We hope you enjoy your time at the convention and that it inspires you to come back to experience everything Colombia has to offer.
The ProColombia Team.
For more information about our country, please go to Colombia.travel
Recent Coverage of Bogota and Colombia
TRAVEL AND LEISURE:
View Webinars, Promotional Videos and SATW Member Videos here: https://satw.org/2022-convention-bogota-colombia/webinars/
Colombia, and its capital city Bogotá, have reinvented themselves in the past decades, and we get to experience this identity firsthand when the SATW makes its return to international travel at our annual convention for travel writers and communicators from September 8-12, 2022.
Bogotá, a city of around eight million people and our 2022 convention host, offers a wealth of story options and surprises for first timers and returning visitors alike. Let’s get to know our hosts a bit better through these 10 bits of trivia.
Bogotá’s proximity to the equator means it has no seasons, and its high altitude creates a cool climate that has earned the city the nickname “the fridge of Colombia.” The average temperature in January (the coldest month) is 56.3 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average temperature in April (the warmest month) is 58.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rhythm is a fact of life in Colombia, and the capital city is no exception. Bogotá was named a UNESCO City of Music in 2012 thanks in part to its 60 annual music festivals and 500-plus live music venues. Convention attendees can treat their ears to some of this musical diversity with an evening event at Cumbia House, a restaurant owned by Grammy winner Carlos Vives that celebrates Colombian food and music.
Bogotá is more than just bike-friendly, it’s bike-forward. More than half of all households own at least one bicycle, and cyclists enjoy more than 220 miles of cycling paths within the city limits—the largest network in Latin America. Some 75 miles of city roads shut down each Sunday for the ciclovia, when two million Bogotanos hit the street on foot, bike, or rollerblade.
Graffiti has been a thing in Bogotá since the Chibcha people first wrote petroglyphs on cave walls thousands of years ago. Street art gained renewed popularity after it was decriminalized in 2011, and today, the scene attracts artists from around the globe. As you walk through La Candelaria or drive along 26th Street toward the airport, keep an eye out for these colorful murals; see if you can spot a pineapple from DjLu, the “Banksy of Bogotá.”
While Bono may have written his iconic song about Belfast, it could just as easily have been about Bogotá. Most of the city’s streets are numbered rather than named. Carreras run north-south and calles run east-west.
Bogotá’s abundance of universities and libraries has drawn comparisons to the flourishing education system of ancient Greece. The city is home to more than 100 higher education institutions, but you don’t have to be a student to enjoy its bookish charms. The Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango ranks among the world’s most visited libraries.
If coffee comes to mind when you think “Colombia,” you’re probably not alone. And while Colombia is the world’s third largest exporter of coffee, it’s aguardiente (“fire water” in English) that’s the national drink. Aguardiente, or guaro for short, is made from sugarcane and anise. It’s commonly downed as a shot but also pops up on cocktail menus from Bogotá’s creative mixologists.
Gunpowder, beer, and throwing heavy objects—what could go wrong? During a game of tejo, Colombia’s national sport, players toss steel disks at a clay-covered board. Land your puck in the target at the center of the board for six points. Hit a mecha—a pouch filled with gunpowder—for a loud bang and three points. Do both for nine! This should definitely be an Olympic sport (and it will definitely feature in one of our convention day tours).
Even the diversity of Colombia is diverse. Let us count the ways:
Each year, the travel industry’s most experienced journalists, website owners, photographers, editors, producers, bloggers, public relations experts and hospitality industry representatives from the United States, Canada and beyond gather for four days of networking, professional development, and story gathering in a new destination. Our 2022 event will take place in Bogotá, Colombia from September 8-12, 2022.