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Despite daily massacres, assassinations, and forced displacements plaguing the country, Colombia's tourism industry received the news Thursday of having been nominated as the best travel destination in the world, in addition to competing in nine other industry categories.
"The world continues to recognize our potential as a high-level destination and to receive these ten nominations at a global level in the awards known as the 'Oscar of Tourism' motivates us, even more, to work tirelessly for this industry that is key to the economic recovery of the country," emphasized Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.
The organizers of the World Travel Awards placed Colombia in 10 categories, including the category of World's Leading Destination.
It will compete with Brazil, India, Greece, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Spain, and Chile in that category.
Several cities of the coffee-producing nation will also compete in the categories of World's Top Culinary Destination, World's Top Beach Destination, World's Top Business Travel Destination, World's Top Urban Getaway Destination, World's Top Tourism Office, and World's Top Cultural City Destination, among others.
According to the newspaper El Espectador, "tourism in Colombia continues to stand out in the world. Every day more eyes are set on a biodiverse and multicultural country, which every day works to be better prepared to receive national and foreign tourists safely and responsibly."
Colombia is one of the most important tourist destinations in South America. It is thanks to enormous biodiversity made up of jungles, mountains, forests, mangroves, countryside, natural parks, and paradise-like crystalline beaches on the planet.
"Colombia was nominated in 10 categories at the World Travel Awards, also known as the 'Oscar of Tourism.' The country is competing for the World's Top Destination award."
Despite these nominations, Colombian and international social movements have denounced Colombia's international posturing as a safe tourist destination, noting that the South American nation is not safe from Afro-descendants, indigenous communities, small farmers, trade unionists, internally displaced migrants, Venezuelan refugees, and leftist political activists.
According to the Alliance for Global Justice, which last year released the People's Travel Advisory on Colombia, "The Colombian government has launched many campaigns to change the country's image and present it as a safe and fun place for all the family, indeed, a tourist paradise. That is a lie, given that one of the worst human rights crises is in Colombia."
The organization, which does not call for a boycott on travel to Colombia, but rather "responsible travel to Colombia that supports the nation’s aspirations for peace, justice, and liberation from Empire," demands the fulfillment of the government's obligations concerning the 2016 Peace Accords signed in Havana. Its petition has been endorsed by hundreds of activists, authors, academics, and politicians, including intellectual Noam Chomsky, Nobel Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel and former senator Piedad Cordoba.