Huila, is a department in the south-east of Colombia that is well known for its natural and cultural richness as well as producing one of the best coffees in the world. At the invitation of the Garzón tourism cluster, Alain Sévigny, Director of the CED for the Americas and founder of Utravel Lab participated in a 10-day mission in the region, accompanied by the organization Verdes Pensamientos, an entity dedicated to environmental innovation and Nelson Garcia, specialist in Design Thinking, method of innovation. The objective of the mission was to visit some attractions and businesses in the region and try to stimulate innovation so that innovative, competitive and sustainable tourism is developed.
Two major events were presented in the capital Neiva and in the city of Garzón. At these events, David Manrique, from Verdes Pensamientos, presented an example of sustainable tourism on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. Alain Sévigny explained what is the excellence of a tourist destination and how the SMED.LAB methodology can help the region to improve both the competitiveness and the sustainability of the destination, accompanied by the CED Destinations Center of Excellence. In the afternoon, with the animation of Nelson García, workshops were held for local actors to interact to stimulate collaboration skills between the different tourism actors in the region.
More than 380 people participated in the two events stating that they want to be a destination of excellence, develop tourism, without losing the sustainability objectives. Hoping that these first steps will be translated into concrete actions so that Huila becomes a destination of excellence. The Destinations World Center of Excellence is ready to provide all the necessary support through the SMED.LAB method.