March 04, 2011
The Government of Colombia has launched an initiative to promote and motivate the travelling of young nationals within Colombia, in an effort meant to capture an estimated population of approximately 12 million persons between the ages of 14 and 28 years of age and convert them into a key segment of internal tourism. This age group of the Colombian population represents almost a 25 percent of the country's total population.
The main purposes behind this interesting project are to move the youngsters to travel extensively and in very advantageous conditions throughout Colombia, to promote a better knowledge of the country's varied attractions amongst them and to contribute to the growth of the Tourism activities, considered as a vital generator of income and provider of employment for the regions, departments, cities and communities which are identified as tourist destinations.
In order to materialize the idea, the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism recently launched the Travel Card "Vive Colombia Joven" ("Live Young Colombia"), supported by a slogan which translates into "you love to travel and now you can afford it". The Card, available to all youths between the ages of fourteen and twenty eight years with the sole presentation of their Identity certificates, provides a vast array of discounts and special benefits, supplied by more than three hundred enterprises and tourism related suppliers and travel services' outfitters nationwide.
According to Colombia's Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Diaz-Granados, the Youth Card allows the young travelers to make better use of their free time, to practice outdoor sports and activities and to become "the builders of a new and better country". The initiative was hailed and supported by a large number of private and public entities, establishments and enterprises, including the suppliers of lodging services, tour operators and travel agencies, gastronomy and related businesses; companies and suppliers of specialized tourism activities such as rafting, boating, trekking, climbing, canopying, kayaking, diving and nautical sports in general. Also supporting the idea as strategic allies are many thermal springs, spas and therapeutic centers which make use of thermal and medicinal waters. The proposal was also joined by several theme parks, vacationing centers, rural lodgings, camping facilities as well as aerial, terrestrial, maritime and river transportation companies. Thus, the young Cardholders have a truly varied and large amount of opportunities and facilities to benefit from, to explore, discover and enjoy their country.
In order to facilitate the Registration to obtain the Youth Travel Card, Colombia's Vice-Ministry of Tourism has created a special web page: www.vicecolombiajoven.com where the young voyagers can affiliate and in a simple manner obtain their Card. The website offers a complete catalogue of the participating companies and services; locations, directions, a detailed inventory of benefits and discounts, access routes, hours of attention, special promotions, etc. The young users can also utilize the site to load their photographs, videos and share their travel experiences with other youths. To make use of the Benefits, the users must present their Vive Colombia Joven Card and ID document at the affiliated establishments and facilities, which will have visible stickers and or banners which confirm their condition as registered participants of the program. The Destinations already open for this innovative project include some of the country's most representative ones, such as Bogota, several municipalities in Cundinamarca; Amazonia; La Guajira; San Andres and Providencia; Cartagena; Santa Marta and their areas of influence; the Coffee Circuits: Armenia, Pereira and Manizales; Santander, Boyaca, the Valle del Cauca, Antioquia and many more, thus covering practically the entire territory of Colombia. With this initiative, Colombia gives one step forward to confirm its vocation as a tourism oriented destination which attributes many values to the practice and benefits of tourism.