The World Tourism Organization – UNWTO – promotes tourism as the economic activity of the future. Due to that, the Tourism School is the new bet of the Universidad Autonoma de Occidente in Cali, Colombia led by the university Extension Direction.
Among the reasons to create the Tourism school is that this activity is well-known for generating large economic income. The Colombian development plans aim to the territorial strengthening by means of tourism, as well as processes of transformation in different natural territories avoiding activities that deteriorate the ecosystem. On the other hand, the post-conflict, has increased tourism in Colombia turning it into a highly profitable practice.
Regional tourism outlook
The Regional Tourist Information System – SITUR in spanish – in its report of January 2018 shows that in the first month of the year Santiago de Cali was the most visited city in Valle del Cauca with 73% of visitors, and from that percentage, 83% represent domestic visitors, while foreign visitors reached 17%.
Some of the attractions of the region are the salsa route, the gastronomic route, health and religious tourism. Likewise, adventure tourism, ecotourism, hiking, and bird and whale watching. Besides, Colombia made a qualitative leap in strategic information for the decision-making with the launch of the Tourism Information Centre – CITUR in Spanish -.
This outlook allowed the Universidad Autonoma de Occidente in Cali, Colombia, Extension Office to articulate different academic programs and dependencies of the institution in search for the increase of local economic development through tourism and the creation of sustainability models generating, in turn, competitiveness by means of public and private partnerships.
More about the Tourism School
The Universidad Autonoma de Occidente in Cali, Colombia, seeks to be recognized as the university of tourism and to this end it has created agreements with international institutions as Rainforest Alliance, Anahuac University, Costa Rican Tourism Institute, World Travel & Tourism Council and the World Tourism Organization.
Nowadays, the School of Tourism is trying to forge a strategic alliance with the Global Council of Sustainable Tourism and with businessmen of the touristic sector through the creation of events that involve small-scale entrepreneurs of the region, with the aim to be positioned as the Pacific School of Tourism, generating an impact initially in the departments of Choco, Valle and Nariño.
Among its lines of action the school offers training and formation for the strengthening of the tourism sector, through programs of continuous development and entrepreneurial training. In addition, it offers advising and orientation for the public and private touristic sector in the consolidation of companies and competitive destinations.
Information course: Bird-watching Tourism
Colombia is known worldwide as the country with the largest number of bird species which makes it a territory with a great potential for bird-watching as a productive activity from the point of view of “green businesses” and the Tourism of Nature.
Therefore, before this enormous potential, it is necessary that tour operators and the local communities hosting this biodiversity of birds concentrated in the country learn about the bird-watching business. This way they understand that there is a great possibility, but equally a great responsibility regarding the conservation of the areas, starting by the planning and participative managing that an activity such as bird-watching must have in the national territory.
In consequence, this course intends to establish a foundation for those who are currently working or planning to start this activity as an opportunity; it will help them to envision and measure the great responsibility that those, who see the bird-watching as an opportunity for “green business”, really have.
Information course: Strategic leadership of Tourism
Today, tourism has become the second most important economic industry in the world. Colombia is not the exception and for this reason tourism has turned into a very promising sector for the country, up to the point that all the projections made by both, the Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Global Travel Market of the World Tourism Organization, state that Colombia will be a destination of high importance in the next 20 years.
For this reason it is necessary to be able to generate a space for the training and qualification of the human talent currently in the sector, especially in Valle del Cauca where tourism is projected to become an economic sector of big proportions.
The Universidad Autonoma de Occidente is the institution considered for this kind of training, given the fact that it is the only undergraduate institution with a professional program in tourism, as well as with an area of research in the topic that somehow guarantees the success of this offer.