Day 5: The opportunities are there for Britain – we just need to fly there and take them!

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By Heathrow

Published 27th February 2015

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On the final day of the Trade Mission to Colombia, the delegation spent the day in Medellin – Colombia’s second-largest city. Heathrow Corporate Affairs Executive Director Clare Harbord’s fifth and final blog rounds off a successful mission to the South American country.

We had a packed day in Medellin – Colombia’s second largest city today – starting with some political meetings ahead of regional elections and then moving on to a tour of a large liquor factor to see a successful Colombian exporter in action.

A journey to be proud of

At lunch we met the Chief Executive of the Medellin Chamber who was very pleased we had come to her city. As they were last night, the guests were very proud of the journey Medellin has been on from one of the most dangerous cities in the world to a magnet for enterprise and innovation. The Colombian guests talked about infrastructure as a big area of opportunity for UK firms, especially businesses with skills in running long term projects and successful public private partnerships. There is a shortage of land for development in Medellin give the rapid expansion so they are now looking for firms with experience of renewing and developing existing housing and other buildings so that the cities growth is not constrained.

Another area of potential collaboration is healthcare. The guests strongly felt that Britain’s expertise in healthcare could be useful as they continue to build their social infrastructure, giving UKTI and London Chamber a good steer for future collaboration. The Medellin Chamber and guests all wanted to know when they might get a direct link into Heathrow and were pleased to hear that this year may be the year that Heathrow gets the go-ahead for expansion after the Airports Commission concludes – as this is the only way we can get new slots for new routes to exciting secondary cities in emerging markets.

We then flew back to Medellin and on to Bogota for one last reception at the Ambassador’s residence. This one was held specifically to support Solar Century, one of the companies on the mission and with 100 guests in attendance they certainly had a good chance of making and cementing the relationships they need to be successful in Colombia.

Eye-opener

Time to fly back to Heathrow. This trip has really opened my eyes to the prospects for our exporters in markets such as Colombia. The opportunities are there for Britain – we just need to fly there and take them!

– Clare Harbord

Find out more about the mission and read Clare’s previous blogs from Colombia, here.

As the Trade Mission to Colombia comes to an end, the delegation led jointly by Heathrow and LCC left Bogota on Day 4 and headed North to the city of Medellin. Heathrow Corporate Affairs Executive Director Clare Harbord’s latest blog details her experience.

Today we left Bogota and took the short flight to Medellin – a city with the fastest growth rates in Colombia which has changed immeasurably in the last two decades and is now transformed into an exciting business centre. One of the businesspeople spoke movingly about how when he got married 35 years ago, the reception had to be held at 11am to ensure the safety of the guests. Fast forward to today and Medellin has won the award for most innovative city.

Potential opportunities

At a dinner hosted by Ken Clarke MP and the Ambassador, some of the largest and most successful businesses based in Medellin told us why the city had won that award – by using existing technology to improve the quality of life for people. Perhaps the most immediate example of this is the use of the cable car to transform connectivity across the city. The dinner also gave the delegation from Britain the opportunity to meet these well-connected business people and discuss potential opportunities to work together.

Dinner hosted by Ken Clarke MP and the Ambassador.

Importance of secondary cities

Going to Medellin showed me how important it is that Britain has access to secondary cities in emerging economies. Bogota has great potential for our exporters, but so does Medellin. Hopefully one day we can connect Heathrow directly to Medellin – at the rate the city is growing I am sure there will soon be enough demand for that route from the fast-growing Colombian entrepreneurs and the forward-looking British exporters.

Tomorrow I’ll get the chance to explore more of the city and what it has to offer – and meet the Chamber to find out about the market conditions in Medellin for British firms.

– Clare Harbord

Find out more about the mission and read Clare’s previous blogs from Colombia, here.

On Day 3 of the Colombian Trade Mission the ANDI released figures showing how far Colombia has come in the last decade, while our delegates met with local tourism officials and attended a reception at the Ambassador’s residence. Heathrow Corporate Affairs Executive Director Clare Harbord’s third blog looks at the day in more detail.

We started off today with a breakfast meeting with the delegation at ANDI – the Colombian equivalent of the CBI. Their analysis of the economy was very useful background information. The data really shows how far Colombia has come – their exports and imports have more than quadrupled in ten years.

They were also honest about some of the challenges such as poor logistics networks and a lack of an integrated transport plan.

After this I met with three members of the Government in separate meetings, starting at the top with the Vice President who is also in charge of infrastructure. He was keen to hear about Heathrow’s expertise in construction and running our operation and understand more about the policy climate in the UK and transport decisions.

After a quick lunch with Ken and the rest of the embassy I headed for a meeting with the Transport Minister who outlined many of the upcoming opportunities for UK companies with skills in supporting infrastructure projects. He was clear that he believes Britain and Colombia have a special relationship – a running theme for this mission!

The value of tourism

On a slightly different theme, I met with the Vice President for Tourism where we discussed the value of tourism to both our economies and how the direct Avianca route brings more opportunities. Colombia specialises in eco-tourism and hearing about the value promoting their habitat brings to the economy certainly brought home to me the value of attracting more British visitors.

The big event for today was the reception kindly hosted by the Ambassador at his residence. This event was for the companies in the delegation to invite along their contacts to chat in a more informal setting and be introduced to the Ambassador, Ken and the helpful staff at UKTI and the embassy. Over 100 people attended. My speech focussed on how similar the opportunities and challenges in building infrastructure are, wherever you are! Whether road, rail or air – connecting within a country or outside it, infrastructure is crucial to building the relationships we all rely on to promote trade.

And the Heathrow – Bogota route is one of our star performers – operating 80% full. Connectivity is important – research shows regular, direct flights are one of the key factors in driving twenty times more trade with emerging markets. As the UK’s only hub airport, there is much we can share with Colombia to support Bogota airport’s ambition to be the hub for South America.

We have a lot in common – two runways and the need for political support to grow.

Off to Medellin tomorrow to meet some more businesses and hear from the Mayor what it takes for British companies to win contracts in his region. It’s meant to be a great city, hopefully one day we can have a direct flight there from Heathrow.

– Clare Harbord

Find out more about the mission and read Clare’s previous blogs from Colombia, here.

Peter Bishop is the Deputy Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and the Deputy Mission Leader on our joint Colombia Trade Mission. Peter has shared with us his insights into the first day of the mission and business in Colombia.

First day of the London Chamber of Commerce mission to Colombia and the Bogota Chamber (five years older than the London Chamber having been founded in 1876) hosts the first session. After a typically authoritative and insightful opening from mission leader The Rt Hon Ken Clarke MP, we sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chamber.

Their signatory is the impressive and experienced Executive President Monica de Greiff and we are both confident that the protocol will contribute to a genuine growth in economic activity, aided by the direct Avianca flights from Heathrow to Bogota.

I make the point that although Colombia is a hugely changed economy and environment from when I last visited 20 years ago, its reputation as being open for global business would be greatly enhanced if it joined the group of 75 countries that operated the ATA Carnet system , the ‘passport for goods’, which facilitates the temporary import and export of goods for trade fairs and exhibitions, samples and professional equipment.

Their participation in the scheme will be a key focus for me for the remainder of our visit.

Meanwhile our mission delegates who include will meet their contacts and do their groundwork to make their own contribution to UK-Colombia trade, confident, I hope, of the support of the Chambers, UK Colombia Trade and the Embassy and knowing that they can travel between the markets directly.

The delegates include:

  • Arup (already strong here);

  • Avianca;

  • Crofton Design (engineering consultancy soon to again join LCCI at MIPIM);

  • Holdtrade (rail freight services, much needed here);

  • McBains Cooper (property and construction consultancy);

  • Solarcentury (solar power, already with offices in LATAM);

  • Surrey Satellite Technology (delivered the payload for Europe’s Galileo Global Navigation and Positioning System);

  • Tetra Strategy (PR and reputation management);

  • Tudor Export (specialist photographic paper).

– Peter Bishop, Deputy Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce

Find out more about the mission and read other blog coverage, here.

Day two of the joint Heathrow and LCC led Colombian Trade Mission saw the delegates meet the British Ambassador to the nation and a Memorandum of Understanding signed to lead the way for future business between the parties involved. Heathrow Corporate Affairs Executive Director Clare Harbord has covered the day, below.

Today began with a packed presentation to the Bogota Chamber of Commerce from Monica de Greiff, President of the Bogota Chamber. Ken Clarke, Peter Bishop, the Deputy Chief Executive of London Chamber, myself and the British Ambassador to Colombia Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby (Photo from L to R).

Monica and Peter signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pave the way for closer co-operation and information sharing between the two Chambers, vital if this mission is to be the start of a long-lasting relationship for the mutual benefit of our business communities rather than a one-off trip. Many journalists attended from the Colombian business press which was great and I was also interviewed by journalists keen to hear more about the new direct route.

Ken Clarke: Helping British exports now number one priority for our embassies

Ken’s speech focused on trade as a way to re-balance the British economy and that helping British exporters was now the number one priority for our embassies across the world. He said we had been too reliant on traditional markets and we needed to look further afield – we neglect emerging markets at our peril.

Ken’s speech focused on trade as a way to re-balance the British economy and that helping British exporters was now the number one priority for our embassies across the world. He said we had been too reliant on traditional markets and we needed to look further afield – we neglect emerging markets at our peril.

My own presentation focussed on the advantages the direct Avianca fight from Heathrow to Bogota gives to Britain.

Frontier Economics research shows direct flights are one of the key factors in driving twenty times more trade with emerging markets. The feedback from delegates on the mission has reinforced this idea with many saying they plan to use our direct flights to make return trips to Colombia and build relationships with the contacts they’ve made this week for example.

Sharing knowledge with our Colombian counterparts

I then went to see our partners at Avianca and met with Carolina Ruiz Gonzalez, their Commercial Director. Carolina told me how pleased they too were with the performance of the flight and how the number of business travellers was particularly encouraging.

We too are delighted with their performance – reaching load factors have 80% in their first year which just goes to show how much latent demand there was to fly between our two countries. She even gave me a plane as a souvenir!

Then on to meet Juan Carlos Quinones Guzman from the Camara Colombiana de la Infraestructura who wanted to hear more about Heathrow and how we squeeze capacity out of what we have, to see if they could learn any lessons for their two runway airport in Bogota.

There’s a lot of common ground as we are both tackling the same issues; politicisation of infrastructure projects and the need for long term investor certainty.

They’ve identified road, rail and air investment as key to unblocking more growth in Colombia and we were happy to share our experiences from running the busiest two runway airport in the world.

At the same time, the delegates on the mission were having their own one to one meetings with prospective business partners and the London Chamber and Bogota Chambers had their first official meeting on how to take forward their joint work. We’ll send some reports from them tomorrow, and hope they’ve had as interesting a first day as I have.

– Clare Harbord

More: 

Heathrow has today announced its 2014 financial results which include an 8.8% increase in revenue to £2.7bn and the highest passenger satisfaction scores of any hub airport in Europe.

The results come on the back of a record year for Heathrow passenger traffic and significantly EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) was also up 10.3% to £1.57bn.

A big year for Heathrow

These achievements were all the more significant, as Heathrow welcomed a record 73.4 million passengers in 2014, over a million more than in 2013. New routes and additional flights were launched to mature and emerging long haul markets benefiting from the strength of efficient hub facilities.

New destinations include Manila, Chengdu, Mexico City, Bogota and Austin, Texas and Air China consolidated its London operation into Heathrow.

By the end of 2014, Heathrow had more airlines operating Boeing 787s than any other airport globally,whilst the number of airlines operating Airbus 380s increased to seven, benefiting from the direct demand to use Heathrow and the hub capabilities for efficient transfers.

2014 was a milestone year in the transformation of Heathrow, with the opening of Terminal 2: the Queen‟s Terminal in June.The terminal is home to 26 airlines including Star Alliance airlines at Heathrow. The terminal provides the ability for airlines to operate with low minimum connecting times for transfer passengers, benefitting from the hub infrastructure.

Together with Terminal 5, which has been the winner of the Skytrax World‟s Best Airport Terminal for three successive years, Heathrow now has two world class terminals, giving the UK a world-class entry point.

With over a quarter of UK exports passing through Heathrow, cargo volume at Heathrow increased a further 5.3% to 1.5 million metric tonnes in 2014, with notable increases on China, Hong Kong, Brazil and USA.

Heathrow full, and falling behind in race for growth

Heathrow CEO John-Holland Kaye said the results show the £11bn the airport has invested in the last decade has made Heathrow world class and ready to expand.

“Heathrow performed very well in 2014, with record levels of passenger service and numbers of passengers served. The successful opening of Terminal 2 means the nation now has a world class front door and passengers rate us the best hub airport in Europe,” – Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye

But with Heathrow full, Britain is falling behind European rivals in the race for growth. An expanded hub airport is best for Britain and backed by Britain.We have made Heathrow better – now it is time to make it bigger, and connect all of Britain to global growth.”

Find out more about Heathrow’s expansion vision:

Read the full 2014 Heathrow financial results and commentary.

The Heathrow and LCC led Colombian trade mission, #ExportColombia, launched from Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 on Saturday night, with the delegates flying direct to Bogota thanks to Avianca Airlines. Heathrow Corporate Affairs Executive Director Clare Harbord is on the mission and will be covering it each day with a blog. Here is Day 1 from Bogota.

Day one of our first trade mission was fittingly spent travelling out of Heathrow’s brand new Terminal 2 on a direct Avianca flight to Bogota.

As delegates were able to travel direct from Heathrow to Colombia on one flight, rather than transfer via Madrid or another EU hub, it meant we could really hit the ground running on our first day and get to know all the participants as well as their priorities and interests.

There are small firms such as Crofton Design – a company with 50 people and huge international ambition, and well known firms like Arup and Diageo who are using the mission to further their interests in Colombia, make new contacts and open doors.

There are small firms such as Crofton Design – a company with 50 people and huge international ambition, and well known firms like Arup and Diageo who are using the mission to further their interests in Colombia, make new contacts and open doors.

Our time here has all been expertly facilitated by the embassy, UK Colombia Trade and London Chamber – and all going very smoothly so far!

We managed to take a couple of photos before a briefing at the embassy and finished off the day with a welcome dinner, which Ken Clarke, our mission leader introduced.

He warned delegates not to be disheartened if they don’t snap up a contract straight away as relationships and trust take time to build.

Several visits to Colombia may be required, but the rewards on offer are great. Colombia is a stable and fast growing market which offers many opportunities for the great manufacturers and service firms we’ve brought along with us.

These opportunities have been made more easily accessibly, through direct access from the UK with our new direct route.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow – our first full day – when we’ll meet the Bogota Chamber and their members, Avianca to discuss how the route is performing (we already know they’re recording high passenger numbers), as well as several Ministers and other officials interested in supporting British firms.

– Clare Harbord

For more information on the mission, click here.

Did you know 2015 has been named the UK-Mexico Year of Culture? The UK and Mexican governments have partnered for a year of sharing culture, business, and education between the two countries.

This January, we saw 54% more British business goods transported from Heathrow to Mexico, which is an encouraging indication of Heathrow’s role in this important partnership. We were also very pleased to recently announce the addition of two additional Aeromexico flights per week, giving passengers more options than ever to discover the Mexican capital and beyond.

From its time as the seat of the Aztec Empire, to the Spanish Conquest of Tenochtitlan by Hernan Cortes, there are few places in the Americas that can claim such historical significance as Mexico City. Having experienced a recent renaissance, it is a popular holiday location for both Mexicans and foreigners alike.

Serving as home to more than 21 million people, it is the largest greater metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere. With over 150 museums, stunning architecture, sprawling markets, and outstanding food and nightlife, there has never been a more exciting time to visit!

Best time to visit

Mexico City’s sub-tropical highlands climate ensures moderate, comfortable temperatures year-round, with average highs in May at 27 degrees Celsius. While March to May is the high season, visitors can enjoy the best weather of the year before the rainy season begins (June-early November).

Currency

The Peso is the official currency of Mexico. One GBP equals approximately 23 Pesos, so don’t be shocked when you receive a 500.00 bar tab (that’s roughly only £20)!

Start your holiday hassle-free by pre-ordering and collecting your currency at Heathrow, using Travelex. Secure yourself a better rate online before you fly, here!”

Don’t miss

National Museum of Anthropology– this world-famous museum houses an unparalleled collection of archeological artefacts from ancient Mexican cultures, including the Maya, Olmec, Aztec, and many more.

Castillo de Chapultepec– This 18th-century palace served as home of the Mexican President until 1939. It now houses the famous Museo Nacional de History (Museum of National History) and is known for its elaborate gardens.

Museo del Templo Mayor– Here, visitors can view the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the pre-Hispanic Aztec capital city. The Templo Mayor was a sacred location of great significance, located at the centre of the great city. Discovered only within the last century, it is still an active excavation site.

Frida Kahlo Museum– The blue house where Frida Kahlo was born and died is now an intimate museum, showcasing a lifetime of inspiration. With the house virtually untouched after Kahlo’s death, it is an extremely rare chance to step into the world of one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Located in Coyoacan, approximately 10km outside the city centre, it is easily reached by public transport or taxi.

Zócalo- Located at the centre of Mexico City, the Zócalo is one of the largest public squares in the world at 57,600 square metres. It is a fantastic place for people-watching and often hosts the city’s parades, festivals, and concerts.

Catedral Metropolitana- The Metropolitan Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Latin America and towers over the Zócalo.

Eat

Mexican cuisine is loved worldwide for good reason, and Mexico City visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants. From Michelin Stars to the simplest of street food, there is something to appeal to every taste. The city’s diverse history is told through its food, with a fusion of Basque, European, and other international traditions interwoven with traditional Mexican cuisine. Be sure to sample some Tacos al pastor, Enchiladas Suizas, Sopa de Tortillas, and Alambres.

Pujol– Internationally-reknowned, this gem by Chef Enrique Olvera is a must-do for foodies. Located in the affluent and lively Polanco neighbourhood, this Mexican-Fusion restaurant offers an amazing end-to-end experience.

Dulce Patria– The hottest restaurant in Mexico City at the moment, Dulce Patria is not to be missed. Chef Martha Ortiz’s creative modern interpretation of classic Mexican dishes is a true treat.

Danubio– For some of the best fish and seafood in town, visit this icon of Mexico City’s gastronomic tradition. Founded in 1936, the restaurant has remained virtually unchanged in appearance, serving up old-world charm along with its delicious dishes.

El Tizoncito– With several locations across the city, El Tizoncito serves up unfussy tacos at a great price. Be sure to try their signature Tacos al Pastor!

El Cardenal– Famous with locals and visitors alike for good reason, El Cardenal is the place to visit for a sampling of authentic Mexican cuisine.

Los Amantes Cantina– This lively restaurant and bar serves up authentic Mexican dishes and boasts and impressive range of Mezcal.

Tres Galeones– This casual spot in the trendy Roma neighbourhood has garnered rave reviews for its fish and seafood tacos. Situated near some great art galleries and a park, it’s the perfect lunch spot.

Dulceria de Celaya– For those with a sweet tooth, look no further than the Dulceria de Celaya. This shop has been selling authentic Mexican confections since 1874.

Where to spend your Pesos

Mercado de San Juanthis food market also offers plenty of local crafts, making it a great spot to pick up souvenirs and quality handmade products.

La Ciudadela– This giant market is a sea of crafts and art from all over Mexico. Visitors can haggle for great bargains on handmade products including mouth-blown glass and even musical instruments!

Hotels

Hampton Inn and Suites Mexico City- Centro Historico– 3 stars. Just a stone’s throw from the Zocalo, this highly-rated hotel is on the doorstep of many of the city’s main attractions. Doubles from £70.

Hyatt Regency Mexico City

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico– 4 stars. This stunning hotel provides stunning views of the Zocalo and excellent service in the centre of Mexico City’s historic district. Doubles from £90.

St. Regis Mexico City– 5 stars. Located on the grand Paseo de la Reforma, this hotel is the perfect choice for those looking for luxury and superior service. Doubles from £250.

Flights

Aeromexico currently operate three flights per week from Heathrow to Benito Juarez International Airport, which will increase to five weekly flights by June, showcasing its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

British Airways currently operate five flights per week which will increase to a daily service in the summer.

The language basics:

  • Hola! (Hello)

  • Adios (Goodbye)

  • Gracias (Thank you)

  • ¿Cuanto Cuesta? (How much is it?)

  • ¿Donde está…? (Where is?)  Also,  the ever-necessary, ¿Donde está el baño? (Where is the bathroom?)

  • Discuple (Excuse me)

Did you know?…

Mexico City is the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world.

Situated a lofty 2.2 km above sea level, the altitude catches many visitors off-guard. Be sure to take it easy for your first day, stay hydrated, and reduce alcohol consumption in the 48 hours prior to arrival.

Know before you go

Visas- UK residents don’t require a visa to enter Mexico, but you will be given a Tourist Card upon entry, which you must surrender upon your return flight.

Safety- Be mindful of pick-pockets. Keep your belongings out of reach and to a minimum when exploring the city on foot or via public transport.

Taxis- It is important to only use the ‘sitio’ taxis, which are located at authorised taxi ranks. Never hail a taxi off the street, especially at night, as these are not regulated. At the airport, use only the pre-paid taxis. When in doubt, ask your hotel concierge to arrange a pick-up for you when going out for the evening.

Tipping- Service charge is normally not included. A 10% tip is standard at most restaurants.

It is illegal to consume alcohol in public. Open container laws are strictly enforced.

Lastly, send us your travel pictures of the beautiful city- we would love to share them! Reach out to us on Twitter @HeathrowAirport, Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram.

Thank you to our friends at the Mexico Tourism Board for the beautiful photos!

Businesses, industry groups, politicans and individuals from across the UK have showed their support for Heathrow expansion in the Airports Commission National Consultation that closed on February 3.

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye spoke of this support at the recent BCC conference stating that, “Heathrow is best for Britain and backed by Britain”.

“Only Heathrow will deliver up to £211bn in economic benefits and over 180,000 jobs, connect the whole of the UK to long-haul global growth markets, and deliver the freight capacity exporters need. That’s why people in every part of Britain are supporting Heathrow as the right option for expansion,”

“We can expand whilst reducing noise for local residents and meeting carbon and air quality targets. We have improved our plans by listening to the communities around Heathrow. Now there are increasing calls from local residents to expand the airport.” – Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye

Who the supporters are

Backed by Britain. Heathrow expansion is supported by:

  • Local people. Over 50% of people in constituencies surrounding Heathrow support expansion and 17% are undecided[i]. The ‘Back Heathrow’ campaign is supported by 80,000 people, and growing.

  • UK business and employees. Trade associations such as the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, Freight Transport Association (FTA) and British American Business (BAB) back Heathrow. Trade unions such as Unite and GMB are backing Heathrow.

  • UK nations and regions. 32 Chambers of Commerce from Kent to South Wales to Inverness support Heathrow, as do regional airports such as Newcastle, Aberdeen, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool and Glasgow.

  • Airlines. Top network airlines from around the globe have confirmed Heathrow as the right option, as have the major airline alliances, major low cost carriers like easyJet and emerging airlines like Vietnam Airlines.

  • Elected representatives. 58% of MPs back expansion at Heathrow compared to 13% who support Gatwick to solve the issues of hub airport capacity. [ii]

  • In addition, over 5,400 people submitted their individual support for the benefits of Heathrow expansion to the Airports Commission via our online form on this website.

WATCH:

Notes:
[i] Populus, December 2014
[ii] Ipsos Mori, September 2014
[iii] http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2014/09/uk-must-have-a-single-hub-airport/
[iv] Taken from ‘Voices for our airport’, Back Heathrow’s response to the Airports Commission consultation

UPDATE: Read blogs from delegates on the mission

Heathrow and the London Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to lead a Colombia trade mission for UK businesses. The mission will be lead by Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke CH QC MP and will take place during February 21-26, with the delegation to take use of Avianca’s direct flights to the Colombian capital, Bogota, from Heathrow’s new Terminal 2.

Eleven businesses in total are set to take part in the mission, which will offer their representatives a chance to make connections with Colombian industry, as well as learn from those already successfully exporting to the nation.

The businesses include:

  • ARUP

  • Avianca

  • Crofton Design

  • Heathrow Airport Ltd

  • Holdtrade (UK) Ltd

  • London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

  • McBains Cooper

  • Solarcentury

  • Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd

  • Tetra Strategy

  • Tudor Export Ltd

Why Colombia?

As the London Chamber of Commerce describes: “Colombia presents itself as one of the most optimistic, stable and recovering countries in the Latin American region, with economic growth of 4.3% predicted for 2014. The UK’s main exports to Colombia are: machinery and transport equipment; chemicals and related products; and various manufactured goods.

Beyond this, there is a wide variety of opportunities for British companies to do business in Colombia across all sectors.”

Additionally, it has the third largest economy in South America driven by the mining, oil and agriculture industries. Colombia is also part of a new class of growing economies called CIVETS – Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – which have high prospects for growth over the coming years.

The UK return of Avianca and direct flights to Colombia

In July 2014, Avianca returned to the UK and Heathrow – creating the first direct UK connection to Colombia for nine years. The airline has had a successful return, with many people and businesses helping to create strong passenger numbers across their four weekly services.

A message from the mission leader

“I am delighted to be invited by Heathrow and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry to go with this trade mission to Colombia. I have worked with UKTI and others in the recent past and in many of my previous Government posts, to take trade delegations to enable British expertise to gain access to attractive markets.

I have always thought that Colombia is a very attractive growing economy and prospective market, where the present level of activity is far less than it should be. The relationships between our two countries have always been very good and, in my experience, Colombians like to do business with UK firms.

Enterprising British companies are getting more and more aware of the opportunities in Latin America. Colombia, which is now a stable democracy and a forward looking community is a large country where we should do better.

The market is now more accessible because Avianca is providing a direct link between Heathrow and Bogota. The Government is anxious to promote access to markets for British businesses and the UKTI and Chamber network overseas will combine with our diplomatic post to provide support for the mission. I very much hope that those who take part will find very worthwhile opportunities as they improve their links with the country.

I wish everyone success, and the British Ambassador and I will be doing our best to be as helpful as we possibly can.”

– Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke CH QC MP

Follow @yourHeathrow on Twitter and the hashtag #exportcolombia as we cover the mission, meetings and sights from Colombia!

Heathrow

By Heathrow

Published 19th February 2015