Published On: Sat, Feb 10th, 2024
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Fury as tourists in one of world’s most beautiful cities charged £1,400 for two mojitos | World | News

Tourists in a city often named one of the most beautiful in the world were left outraged after being charged £1,400 for two cocktails. In response to a surge in tourist scams and overcharging incidents in Cartagena, one of Colombia’s prominent tourist destinations, the Mayor’s Office and local authorities are taking steps to tackle the issue.

Over recent years, cases of scams targeting tourists in Cartagena have become increasingly frequent, posing a challenge for authorities. And in one particularly shocking incident, a Canadian couple, Denis Poulin and Christine Sharl, were charged over 7 million pesos (1,400 pounds) for two mojitos on the beaches of Barú, NoticiasRCN reports.

The tourists, unaware of the overcharge, realised the extent of the scam only upon returning to their hotel. Denis Poulin said: “I am not at all happy with Cartagena, and this will be seen in my comments; I will go directly to the internet and say what happened to me, I was robbed here.”

Faced with the growing number of incidents, the district administration and national entities are exploring strategies to mitigate the problem, with a focus on leveraging technology to provide better services and ensure fair pricing.

Mauricio Lizcano, Minister of ICT, revealed plans for a mobile app designed to regulate prices for tourist services in the city. He said: “We are going to work on an app for mobile phones, where tourists will have information, suggested prices, and services in the city. It will be an effort that we will finance from the Ministry, so that citizens and visitors feel supported by the government.”

The proposed app aims not only to regulate prices but also to serve as a communication channel for tourists to report exaggerated charges on various beaches in and around Cartagena. Recent cases include a Canadian paying over 20 million pesos (£4,000) for a city centre car ride and a Mexican citizen shelling out almost six million pesos (£1,200) for lunch in Cholón.

To address the existing cases, the Mayor of Cartagena, Dumek Turbay, took action by arranging for the reimbursement of swindled tourists.

Turbay also highlighted upcoming initiatives, stating: “Today the creation of the Secretariat of Tourism is being discussed in the district council. In two months, we will open the Tourist Protection Office, which will be located in the Mayor’s Office. We will rely on state-of-the-art technology and work on a risk map for tourists.”

Despite these efforts, recent reports indicate that the problem persists.

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