Colombian Government legal measures during COVID-19 for the Tourism Industry

15 April 2020
One of the most important decisions was the declaration of the Economic, Social and Ecological Emergency through Decree 417 of 2020, which allows the government to issue decrees with the force of a law.

Also, Decree 457 ordered preventive isolation from 0:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25th until, the recently extended date, April 26. This Decree limits the free movement of people and vehicles, and suspends domestic air transport. It also brings a list of 34 activities exceptions that can be carried out and indicates that cargo transport, storage and logistics for import and export cargo must be guaranteed.


Different rules have also been issued to guarantee the functioning of the Government through the use of technology. Presidential Directive 02 and specifically Decree 491 of 2020 adopts emergency measures to guarantee care and the provision of services by the public authorities. In order to avoid contact between people and promote social distancing, the authorities will ensure that they provide services in their charge through the modality of home office. The authorities will announce on their website the official communication and information channels through which they will provide their service. The activities that are strictly necessary to prevent, mitigate and attend the health emergency due to COVID-19, and those that guarantee the operation of the State may not suspend the provision of services in person.


Labor regulations have been issued as well. Decree 488 of 2020 establishes that workers who have presented a decrease in their income may withdraw their unemployment aid. For granting vacations employers may notify employee one day in advance, likewise the employee may also request the vacation one day in advance. Employers are prohibited to force employees to take unpaid leave.


In regard to the Colombian Tourism Sector there are two main decrees to take into account:


Resolution 453 of 2020 - Ministry of Health and Social Protection

This resolution determines as a preventive and control health measurement throughout the national territory, the closure of commercial establishments and those dedicated to the recreation, fun and entertainment such as casinos, bingos and video game terminals.


Decree 397 of 2020- Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism

The decree 397 of 2020 brings on the benefit to the taxpayers of the parafiscal contribution for the promotion of tourism to present and pay the private settlements corresponding to the first quarter of the year 2020, until July 29, 2020. The term to pay this contribution will be extended for 4 months.


The Parafiscal Contribution for the Promotion of Tourism is a mandatory tax, created in order to strengthen the promotion and competitiveness of tourism. The Contribution only affects the economic sector linked to the tourist activity, expressly indicated in article 3 of Law 1101 of 2006 and the resources obtained from that contribution, are invested exclusively for the benefit of the tourism sector.