En­ter­pris­ing Bo­gotá

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE -

Colom­bia’s cap­i­tal city is a place with a pur­pose, find­ing new gold as Latin Amer­ica’s hub for busi­ness

Land­ing in Bo­gotá, as the clouds part from the peaks of the An­des and a bumpy tapestry of green farms and muddy lakes flow into the broad, buzzing ur­ban ex­panse, you re­mem­ber you are never too far from heaven. Bo­gotá is its own spe­cial par­adise – as old as the Con­quis­ta­dors, as new as the lat­est lux­ury ho­tels and as smart and fast to adapt as the apps you find in your smart­phone.

Segue back two decades and you would have found a coun­try over­run by crime, nar­cotics and political chaos. Turn the dial back only a month and you would find Colom­bian pres­i­dent Juan Manuel Santos sit­ting down with the Pres­i­dent of the United States to dis­cuss Colom­bia’s suc­cess in re­duc­ing crime rates by 80 per­cent, fi­nal­iz­ing a peace with rebel fight­ers who are now trad­ing guns for jobs, and in build­ing an econ­omy ris­ing from jun­gles and coffee farms to be­come the shin­ing star of Latin Amer­ica.

You can feel it first at El Do­rado In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The port, lo­cated around 45 min­utes from the cen­ter of Bo­gotá, re­cently com­pleted a $700 mil­lion upgrade and ex­pan­sion. Flights go in and out of this hub of South Amer­i­can com­merce, some 700 in­ter­na­tional a week. They land on a plateau in the moun­tains serv­ing a city sprawls more than 600 square miles at al­ti­tudes of nearly 9,000 feet.

At those heights, weather re­mains tem­per­ate in all sea­sons; golf games go faster as balls speed through the thin­ner air. And mos­qui­toes, and any viruses they carry, are not even a thought at th­ese el­e­va­tions.

Rather, the vis­i­tor to Bo­gotá will be im­mersed in the grind­ing beat of a city in mo­tion. It’s a place with a pur­pose and the city is wast­ing not a minute mak­ing up for time lost.

“Typ­i­cally Colom­bia was in­vest­ing $1.5 bil­lion on in­fra­struc­ture in past years,”says Luis Ger­man Restrepo, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Pro­Colom­bia, an of­fice that over­sees the tourism sec­tor.“To­day, it’s $25 bil­lion to be put into the in­fra­struc­ture over the next five years – bet­ter roads from ports to cities. We are right in middle of the An­des and ap­proach­ing 10,000 feet. It’s hard to de­velop here but we are do­ing it. Look at

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