Colombia's main coffee-growing region, the central province of Risaralda, has invested close to 20 billion pesos ($6.9 million) to boost tourism, Gov. Sigifredo Salazar Osorio told EFE.
The funds will be used to promote several programs, some of which involve industry partnerships with the public sector, the governor said at the Colombian Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism fair in Bogota.
Among the programs is the "Pueblo de encanto" (Alluring Town) project, which aims to improve the facades of 4,523 houses in cities across Risaralda, as well as provide ornaments for parks and squares.
As a result of a partnership between the Colombian Trade, Industry and Tourism Ministry and the city of Dosquebradas, four 360-degree bird watching lookouts were erected in Alto del Nudo township, one of the area's main attractions.
"Tourists visit the province because our nature tourism is strong, especially bird watching," Salazar said. "Tourists come from all over the world to places like the Otun Quimbaya (sanctuary) and Tatama natural park, which are, like, the crown jewels of bird watching."
Risaralda's hospitality industry and the Colombian Hospitality and Tourism Association provide training for employees to "provide better service" and develop an eco-friendly infrastructure, Salazar said.
As an example, the governor cited the fact that Santa Rosa de Cabal has been certified as a sustainable tourist destination, making a list that also includes the cities of Santa Cruz de Mompox, Cienaga, Cartagena, Puerto Nariño and Playa Palmera.
In addition, the province of Risaralda, along with the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, is opening shops specializing in coffee - the country's flagship drink - in every municipality in the region.