Colombia’s tourism ministry revealed that the Andean nation saw a 5.3% increase in foreign visitors between January and April 2012 compared to the same period last year.

The rise continues the surge in tourism to Colombia, which has increased by nearly 300% since 2006.

The countries with the greatest increase of Colombia-bound tourists were Canada, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Japan, according to Colombia’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Diaz-Granados. 52% of visitors went to Bogota, 14% to the coastal city of Cartagena and 8% travelled to Medellin. 67% of tourists said they were in the country for sightseeing, 10% for employment and 7% to participate in a specific event.

Colombians were also on the move in early 2012 with domestic air travel jumping by 13% compared to the same period in 2011. This has had a positive effect on Colombia’s tourism industry with hotels reporting 53.3% occupancy in 2012 resulting in an 11.2% increase in revenue for 2012.

Diaz-Granados attributed the improvement to government efforts to implement a comprehensive plan to attract tourism, both domestic and foreign.