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Colombia’s positioning as an event destination kept a positive trend in 2012, as it ranked in 28th place out of 109 in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) world classification.
The organization pointed out that last year Colombia climbed up one spot in their ranking, issued based on the number of international conventions and congresses held at the more of a hundred ICCA member countries.
In 2013, Colombia hosted 139 events, 44 more than in 2010 when it ranked 34th in the ICCA’s classification, the main list within the corporate tourism segment of the world, and which serves as benchmark for those in search of destinations to host their business and corporate meetings.
“The latest rankings issued by the ICCA positioned Colombia as the third main international event host in South America behind Brazil and Argentina, and fourth in Latin America, after Mexico, considered a benchmark in the region regarding meetings tourism”, stated the President of Proexport, Maria Claudia Lacouture.
Proexport Colombia, the office in charge of promoting international tourism in the country, works hand in hand with local authorities and organizations (Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce) to attract events, fostering the arrival of more and more foreign visitors.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism, based on data by the Immigration Department of Colombia, the country welcomed a total of 165,122 foreign visitors who attended congresses or conventions, that is, 30% more than in 2012, when 126,984 visitors arrived in the country.
The events that took place last year in the country thanks to Proexport Colombia and which were taken into account to issue the ICCA’s list, include the following: the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) annual meeting held in Cartagena; the South American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (SAHIC) meeting held in Bogota; and the Investigation Network for Metropolitan Areas of Europe And Latin America (RIDEAL) Congress, held in Medellin.
“In addition to the congresses and conventions organized in Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellin, other events that boosted Colombia's ranking include those held in Armenia, Bucaramanga, Cali, Neiva, Manizales, Pereira, Santa Marta, Tunja, Villa de Leyva, and Villavicencio, which in the last years have become part of the country’s international promotion portfolio”, explained Lacouture.
Colombia’s promotion strategy as a congress and meetings destination carried out by Proexport Colombia includes, among others, participation at field-specific trade shows, familiarization trips along entrepreneurs and international journalists, as well as training sessions, working plans together with wholesalers or incentive houses abroad. These actions are developed in 24 countries in both the Americas and Europe.
According to a survey carried out by Proexport Colombia, last year’s attendants to events in the country reported average daily expenses of $344.5 USD in categories ranging from lodging, meals, drinks, shopping and gifts, telecommunications, and transportation, to culture and leisure.