Colombia, perfect destination for world-class events
Colombia continues to strengthen itself as a world-class event destination through infrastructure, technology and innovation
BOGOTA – Over the last decade, Colombia has emerged as an important world class event destination. In 2014, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), with 150 meetings held, the country ranked as the third meeting destination in South America after Brazil and Argentina.
With four cities on the 2014 ICCA ranking, Bogotá, Cartagena, Medellin and Cali, the country positions itself as a top destination for meetings. Colombia was been chosen to host the UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Medellin (12-17 September 2015), the event is expected to gather over 1.300 delegates. While last month Bogota received the Pan-American congress of Ophthalmology (PAAO) at the Bogota International Business and Exhibitions centers, Corferias, with capacity to accommodate more than one million four hundred thousand visitors. Meanwhile Cartagena de Indias prepare to welcome Martha Stewart as a special guest and more than 200 attendees at the Cartagena Bridal Week on September 23rd.
Colombia offers a variety of locations, climate, resources and stunning scenarios to host the most memorable events. The different cities offer a wide variety of non-traditional venues that allows any event to turn into a unique experience. While Bogota can offer a cocktail inside the only salt mine cathedral in the world built 590 feet deep or an outdoor events surrounded by beautiful green mountains, Medellin will let you enjoy a picnic in a Gothic style medieval castle with a view of the most gorgeous French gardens at the Castle Museum.
Currently, due to the recent devaluation of the Colombian peso, travel to and operation within the country, hotels, audiovisual services and attractions that are priced in pesos can be obtained at essentially 36% discount. While the inexpensive travel and lodgings are definitely attractive to Caribbean visitors, the development in infrastructure, technology, professionalism and specialized help has led the country become a cost effective and strategic destination for any type of events.
As for hotels, Colombia recently welcomed new additions from major luxury hotel chains including JW Marriot, W Hotel and Ritz in Cartagena de Indias, as well as Four Seasons in both Cartagena and Bogota. Currently, there are 41 convention centers and 164 hotels around the country with rooms to host events. In 2015, new hotels are expected to begin operations such as Accor, Best Western, Hilton, Estelar, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Marriot, among others.
“A developed infrastructure to host the most demanding world class events is essential to guarantee its success, this is why Colombia has striven itself to offer a rough hotel infrastructure”, said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Procolombia.
Due to its privileged position, Colombia is well connected to the international community with over 920 flights per week and 23 airlines operating internationally. Also, air connectivity with the Caribbean has been a priority for Colombia these past few years. Currently LAN, Avianca, Insel and Copa airlines has 51 weekly direct flights from Aruba, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, connecting with three Colombian cities (Bogota, Medellin and Barranquilla).
PROCOLOMBIA, the promotion agency of the Colombian government, seeks to present their offer in MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism through digital tools such as the phone App “Meeting Colombia” and the web portal www.colombia.travel, where domestic and foreign tourists may find relevant information such as photos, videos, recommendations and logistical information to plan your meeting.