Dubai, November 2018 - The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) announced that the city of Cartagena, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, will be the 2021 host for the ICCA Congress, the most important event for the global meetings industry.
The announcement was made in Dubai, during the General Assembly of the congress, which gathers about 1,000 event organizers from around the world. Cartagena was selected to host the 2021 event over other competing cities, such as Athens and Rotterdam.
"To be chosen for the 2021 ICCA Congress demonstrates the confidence that the ICCA has in Colombia to host world-class international events. The world's leading event organizers will attend this congress, providing a golden opportunity to showcase Colombia as an international tourism destination and as a country that offers foreign direct investment opportunities," said ProColombia's president, Flavia Santoro Trujillo. "Congratulations to the bidding team for this fantastic victory," the ICCA wrote in its Twitter account.
The bidding committee was made up of several Colombian entities, including ProColombia, the Cartagena de Indias Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, the Ágora Bogotá Convention Center, Aviatur, and Las Américas Hotel & Convention Center.
"We congratulate Cartagena for this recognition and we thank the ICCA for having selected Colombia to host the world's most important event in the meetings tourism industry," Santoro added.
Meetings tourism is one of the products prioritized by Colombia's government to promote the country as a world-class destination. It is expected that the event will bring more than 1,000 event organizers from all over the world to Colombia.
Meetings tourism is considered a high-value segment. According to the ICCA, each attendee will spend an average of US $480 per day, three to four times more than an average tourist.
According to the same organization, a meetings tourist stays in Colombia for an average of 3.52 days. Over the last decade, Colombia has made progress in the sector; in 2007, Colombia hosted 34 ICCA events, while last year it hosted 142 of these ICCA-category meetings.
According to the ICCA, Colombia ranks second in Latin America and 18th worldwide with regard to number of congress attendees. In addition, in 2017 Colombia ranked third in Latin America for the number of congresses held.
Furthermore, Bogotá was the South American city with the highest number of ICCA-category event attendees, with about 53,000 visitors in 2017.