Is Cali prepared for the challenge of promoting tourism in the city during the

Is Cali prepared for the challenge of promoting tourism in the city during the
Is Cali prepared for the challenge of promoting tourism in the city during the

Between October 21 and November 1, COP16, the most important biodiversity conference in the world, will be held in Cali.

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It is one of those few golden opportunities that the capital of Valle del Cauca has to show its best face to a planet that has many expectations of getting to know the city. This implies an impulse economic, social and urban planning as important as the 1971 Pan American Games.

One of the fundamental pillars to show the best of the city and promote it as a destination is tourism, which is why the Ministry of Tourism is advancing efforts and initiatives to present a better Cali.

However, recently, the Cali Council questioned ‘the scarce budget and the precarious organizational infrastructure presented by the Ministry of Tourism’, which they described as “insufficient to position the city as a tourist attraction at a national and international level, on the eve of COP16.”

With the planting of trees, Let’s go back to my Cali Bella continues to recover the spaces of the city in which the intervention of point number 60 in Loma de la Cruz was carried out and continues to prepare to receive COP16.

Photo:Santiago Saldarriaga Quintero

“There is talk of medical, gastronomic, and community tourism, but there is no talk of a milestone that defines and identifies the national and foreign tourist’s reason for coming to Cali, so it must be identified, enhanced, and sold as the great attraction, since it is The rest is additional offer. On the other hand, the city needs to have a Single Window so that the secretariat can be strengthened,” said Councilor James Junior Agudelo Arévalo.

He added that one way for the city to have a greater tourist offer is to conclude the works that have already begun, such as the Christ the King parkCorazón de Pance, Pacific Park, Innovation Park and San Fernando.

Meanwhile, for councilor Marlon Andrés Cubillos, despite the fact that the Tourism Secretariat has “good intentions and projections,” he fears that the budget may not be met for COP16 due to lack of resources.

The Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad, at the Univalle, launching the national route to build the Biodiversity Plan

Photo:Santiago Saldarriaga / EL TIEMPO

Therefore, consider to carry out the idea of ​​selling to ‘Cali Bonita’ It is necessary to articulate municipal agencies such as Economic Development, Goods and Services, Dagma, Mobility and Infrastructure, which allow rural tourism to be strengthened, as well as that of the east and hillside, and that also accommodate people with disabilities.

For their part, councilors Edison Alberto Giraldo Hoyos, Carlos Ariel Patiño Moya and Alexandra Hernández Cedeño, requested that the city be taken advantage of as the world capital of salsa with its cultural and industrial industry, dancers, music lovers, dance schools, musicians and orchestras, museums, in order to integrate them into hotels and allow their promotion.

Regarding Pance, one of the biodiverse areas of the city, councilor María del Carmen Londoño Sanna, requested that the return to the West be concluded, which would allow rural tourism to be strengthened and green spaces suitable for the positioning of ecotourism accompanied by digital connectivity and energy.

A young secretariat with great challenges

The Secretary of Tourism of Cali, Mabel Lara, recognizes the difficulties of being in charge of a young secretariat, but highlights her purpose of turning it towards cultural and tourist service.

Mabel Lara, Secretary of Tourism of Cali.

Photo:Instagram: @mabellanews

“The Tourism Secretariat is one of the youngest that exists in the municipal Administration, which was born around 2017 and little by little we have made the citizens understand that this is a vocation of the city, regarding the fact that Cali is cultural, sports and tourist district. Today the Secretary It has a small budget but it has a great impact because we have to do a lot of management,” says the official.

Regarding COP16, he considers that there are “giant challenges.” “The secretariat is not the one in charge of COP16 alone, because we are in the governance of our sector that includes hotels, bars and restaurants, which are private, but we have to quickly bring them to situations of impact and competitiveness”says Lara.

Although he recognizes that the secretariat under his charge does not have large budgets, he maintains that the rest is to “leave it strengthened, due to the great importance of the secretariat, which is like a great chancery of Cali.”

‘There is no COP16 without private enterprise or self-management’

To bring this great event to a successful conclusion with the world conference, which the head of Cali Tourism compares to “something similar to the Soccer World Cup, but with biodiversity”, coordinated work with private companies is necessary.

“COP16 is not possible without private companies or self-management. It has been very motivating to see how entrepreneurs and bakeries are leading initiatives on COP. In Loma de la Cruz, from day 1 that Cali won the headquarters, they began to carry out some biodiversity talks and they began to make some urban pacts in the sector, that is what Cali has to do,” highlights the official.

He adds that this event is “a huge showcase for the city and a public-private alliance is being made to move it forward.”

“Here there is not a single person responsible, taking into account that the board of directors is the UN, the Foreign Ministry, the MinAmbiente, the Interior and the Mayor’s Office. And the local council: the Mayor’s Office and the Government, which we have put everything into. After COP16, Cali will remain a city in which great events are held,” he notes.

‘Cali is not alone’

From the different unions that are part of the city’s tourism ecosystem, they consider that the issue of tourism will not only fall on Cali, but on the work articulated between the departmental and national governmentsas well as private ones.

Manuel Pineda, president of Asobares, says that a biodiversity event like COP16 led by the UN must first be understood.

“We are going to have a large influx of people between October 21 and November 1, but they are going to come as such to the Pacific Valley Events Center. Apart from that, parallel events are being held such as on the river boulevard, for example, and those that the Mayor’s Office wants to hold for conferences, exhibitions, among other activities,” comments the union leader.

As a union, it stands out that they are carrying out preparation work among the establishments, because a good part of the visitors will tour the city to learn about Cali culture.

Brany Prado, director of Acodes Regional Pacific and the Amazon

Photo:Acodes Regional Pacific and the Amazon

“We have been working hand in hand with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Economic Development of Cali, also with the Ministry of Tourism of the Valley, to find how to train establishments, their staff, especially on bilingualism issues so that businesses are prepared for that date when tourists want to go out, they want to go to eat, they want to go to know the culture, they want to go to enjoy the breeze of the city, so yes we are preparing, we are making strategies with them, especially everything in terms of training, training and beautification,” highlights Pineda.

Within the preparation work, he also highlights that many establishments “are organizing their menu so that they can also have it in English, we are organizing the entire issue of to be able to have the dataphones open to receive all cards, we are doing training to be able to recognize dollars, in case at any time there is someone who brings dollars so we can recognize and receive them, they are training in customer service, at tables and bars.

Cali salsa, tourist attraction of the city.

Photo:Juan Pablo Rueda Bustamante / El Tiempo

“In addition, we are doing diploma courses. At this moment we have an alliance from the union with the Autonomous University of Nariño, which offers a three-month diploma to be able to have the whole issue of customer service and be up to the task of receiving these tourists and ensuring that they leave with the best image”, he maintains.

For Brany Prado, executive director of the Colombian Association of the Gastronomic Industry, Pacific and Amazon chapter (Acodres), gastronomic establishments “are up to par” with the tourism sector of what COP16 will be in Cali, and he considers that “they are already “They are preparing for it.”

“At Acodres we are accompanying them and we believe that it will be an activity that will promote and help boost sales, which have not been the most positive during these first six months, but which we hope can increase in this last period of this year” , indicated the union leader.

For Prado, tourism in the COP is a joint effort in which different unions are working in advance.

“We have been coordinating since we realized that COP16 was assigned to Cali as the venue, since we have been coordinating with the hotel industry and the tourism sector. We as gastronomic We have decided to promote this issue as such. So, I would believe that there is a joint,” he comments.

He considers it vitally important that the National Government “be articulated and organized, because its disorder, in the end, causes a negative effect.”

“We believe that, although the responsibility of the city is important in the organization, the National Government also has another part in which it must bet and that must be immediate and that must, as such, also provide coordination from its technical team so that the holding of COP16 can be an issue supremely adjusted to what the United Nations Organization is requiring,” adds Prado.

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