Colombia redoubles its commitment to MICE in IMEX America
PROCOLOMBIA has set up a booth where it has promoted its destinations and attractions in order to reactivate the sector
Colombia has had a very prominent participation in IMEX America, an event in which it has been able to hold important meetings with MICE professionals with the aim of capturing events for the future. To learn more about the segment's current affairs in the country, we have exclusively interviewed Maria Oriani, Manager of Meetings Tourism at PROCOLOMBIA. We share their responses below:
How is the infrastructure of Colombia to receive events?
We are an absolutely diverse country that can offer world-class hospitality and convention centers in many different cities. We have traditional and non-traditional venues. The largest are located in Bogotá, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla. In total we added 27 centers of 27 conventions and 455 hotels with the capacity to hold events.
How is connectivity at the moment?
We work with the 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.
We have had airlines that have shown their interest and confidence in the country to bring routes. To give a specific example, American Airlines is arriving in Colombia on December 4 with flights from Miami to San Andrés, which had a very strong blow than the previous year at the infrastructure level because we had a hurricane that almost hit the island. This route will operate twice a week, which means that there are also opportunities in other regions and that we begin to receive foreigners or Colombians who live abroad that we did not have before.
What initiatives have you put in place to boost MICE?
We have launched a program 6 months ago of ambassadors where we have Colombians passionate about their country who are our extended arm when it comes to selling the country when it comes to capturing an event.
It is important to emphasize that from the beginning we had a work plan to be able to leave after the pandemic, we had the possibility to review what priorities we should have and one of those was the issue of the security seal that gave the traveler confidence to arrive and feeling calm about going to a hotel, taking a road, taking a plane and knowing that this was preparing the capacity level and we were prepared to face the challenge.
We are very clear that the meetings industry is extremely important and that for the country's economic recovery we need to activate this sector and we cannot lose focus. The idea is to continue working so that the numbers continue to grow, doing everything possible so that more people are coming to Colombia. There is a strategy that is proposed at the country level, it is transversal and allows us to have a forecast in the short, medium and long term.