Work has begun on a new airport in the Colombia coffee region, which is intended to be a major shot in the arm for tourism and investment in one of the country’s most famous zones.
Known as the ‘Aeropuerto del Café’ (Coffee Airport), the $136.6 million project is being built in the municipality of Palestina, in the department (state) of Caldas — one of three small departments that dominate the central coffee-growing region, along with Risaralda and Quindio (all figures in USD).
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Palestina sits approximately 20 km southwest of Manizales, the capital of Caldas, and 35km northeast of Pereira, the capital of Risaralda. The airport project is being built by Spanish construction firm OHL.
With Pereira already home to an international airport, with flights to key Colombian cities and daily flights to Panama City and Miami, it is unclear if the new Coffee Airport project will seek to cater to more international destinations.
Colombia Coffee Region Drives a Globally Recognized Trade
The Colombia coffee region is well-known for both the quantity and quality of its product. Producing approximately 14 million bags of coffee per year, at a value of $2 billion, the Colombia coffee region is famous for its largely arabica variety of coffee, which thrives in the volcanic soils of the altitudinous growing zones.
That results in a sweeter and less acidic variety of coffee than in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, and contributes to Colombia’s reputation for cultivating some of the best coffee in the world.
It also makes the Colombia coffee region a major tourist destination, both among foreign visitors and domestic holidaymakers. With Colombia seeing visitor numbers increase significantly since 2005, and especially in the past decade, the potential for further development in the region is significant.
Colombia Coffee Region Airport to Amplify Local Business Opportunities
The benefits to the Colombia coffee region airport go beyond simply bolstering visitor numbers, because it will also amplify some of the biggest advantages associated with doing business in the area, namely infrastructure and the strong commercial climate.
Enhanced local infrastructure
The new Colombia coffee region airport will benefit from and bolster the high-quality infrastructure already in place in the area, including a network of roads known as the ‘Coffee Highway’.
Linking the Colombia coffee region’s main destinations with the Cauca Valley via more than 250 km of modern roads, the Coffee Highway is an impressive infrastructure asset, which visitors entering the zone via the new airport will be able to count upon to get around.
Notably, as well as being home to the city of Cali — the third-largest metro population in the country after capital Bogotá and Medellin — the Cauca Valley is also where the major Pacific port city of Buenaventura is located, providing easy access to a major domestic market and key international trade hub for businesses located in the Colombia coffee region.
Good business climate
As the World Bank’s Subnational Doing Business in Colombia 2017 data highlights, the coffee region is already one of the best parts of Colombia for doing business in, with Manizales ranked number one overall among 32 locations surveyed in Colombia.
That includes top scores for dealing with construction permits and registering property, while nearby Pereira is ranked number four for starting a business. With the region registering 3.5% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, the increased trade and traffic that the airport promises will only increase the region’s potential.
Because of that, the opportunities in the Colombia coffee region go beyond simply tapping into the tourism sector, with significant opportunities in the likes of manufacturing, IT, and business process outsourcing (BPO).
Tourism beyond coffee
While the Coffee Airport will provide easy access to visitors to some of the most iconic coffee growing zones, the attractions to be found in the area go even further than Colombia’s famed crop, and are ripe for further investment.
The Colombia coffee region is also famed for its biodiversity, including more than 150 species of mammal, 950 species of birds, and breathtaking scenery — features that are well-known among domestic tourists and becoming increasingly popular among foreign visitors.
Once the Coffee Airport opens and visitor numbers increase, it is likely that the area’s famous flora and fauna will receive even greater recognition, and the region will become known for more than just the opportunity to see the famous red coffee berries being grown.
Biz Latin Hub can assist you doing business in Colombia
At Biz Latin Hub, our multilingual team of corporate support experts is available to help you enter and do business in the Colombia coffee region, or any other part of this South American country. With our complete portfolio of back office services, including company formation, accounting, legal, and recruitment, we can be your single point of contact for doing business in Colombia, or any of the other 17 markets around Latin America and the Caribbean where we have teams in place.
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