Colombia's strong commitment to the MICE segment

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Colombia's strong commitment to the MICE segment
Source: ProColombia
November 09, 2021

We exclusively interviewed Gilberto Salcedo Ribero, Vice President of Tourism of ProColombia who has shared details about the recovery of the segment in the country

For various reasons, Colombia is one of the best prepared countries to hold an event in Latin America. To find out the current situation and future plans, we have exclusively interviewed Gilberto Salcedo Ribero, Vice President of Tourism at ProColombia. We share their responses below: 

What was the state of Colombian tourism prior to the pandemic and in what situation is it today?
"I believe that at this juncture it is necessary to describe them in terms of learning, there are several things that one has to point out and have to highlight, the first thing is that obviously the meetings industry in my humble opinion has as 2 major components, one which is the one referred to the generation of knowledge and the second one that allows you to generate relationships and generate connections with the productive sectors. In this sense, I would tell you that the first initiative has been the incorporation of technology that is here to stay, at the end of the day the pandemic has brought us a magnificent opportunity to democratize knowledge and make it much more accessible, much easier and much more connected with our audiences, however, I believe that it is absolutely necessary to resume face-to-face contact.  

How do you seek to position Colombia as a country with so many different attractions and so diverse?
The pandemic put us in front of a great challenge and it is how today the traveler of this new normal is looking not only for social distancing, biosecurity, open spaces and nature, there is also a demand to visit sustainable destinations. In Colombia we take this period of isolation as a period of enlistment, we have the assets, the potential, but obviously we had many things to do. We had to achieve synchronicity with the private sector in international promotion, also refine our products and experiences much more in all destinations to bring them in line with these new trends and give much more power to many destinations that have all this characteristic of nature. .  
We are now promoting 6 large regions that each have an inventory of tourism products and experiences that meets current tourism trends.

How do you work with airlines to improve connectivity?
Colombia is a country that has many challenges in land connectivity due to our topography that has made us a country of airports, so we have a large number throughout the national geography. For this reason, our commitment to aviation is total, we generated a simple strategy, but with forceful results that basically consisted of 3 fundamental points. The first was to create a regulatory and legal framework that would allow more favorable operating costs in Colombia and therefore be able to lower final prices for travelers. The Value Added Tax was 19% of the total value of the ticket and today it is only 5%, this allowed us to boost demand. The second point has a lot to do with the generation of trust, where we had a very clear focus on the generation of the biosafety seal.
ProColombia is the entity in charge of promoting tourism internationally, for this reason we also work with airlines to generate demand at a global level and that has also allowed us to have much stronger relationships with each of them. We have already recovered 67% of the total chairs we had before the pandemic, we reactivated 63% of the total frequencies we had before the pandemic in 2019, which was the year with the best performance of international tourism in Colombia with more than four million and a half of non-resident visitors. Today we have 92% of the total capacity that we had before the pandemic.

What infrastructure does Colombia have to hold events and how do they work with the governments of the different regions to expand it?
Today the country has 27 convention centers and 455 hotels designed for holding events. We have a very consistent strategy to attract investment, we have managed to ensure that global hotel brands have been arriving in the country for more than a decade. We have destinations that are very versatile and that also offer different alternatives for meetings, as well as very accessible places for holding events due to the behavior of the currency against the dollar and the euro.
In addition, we have within all these destinations a number of non-traditional attractions for holding any event.


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