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16 February 2021

Colombia Boosts Meetings and Nature Tourism

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Colombia's meetings sector is ready for the sector's relaunch in 2021, aiming to maintain the positioning it achieved in recent years. The country has also launched its first nature tourism guide, to take advantage of its potential as an international destination for sustainable and responsible activities.

Flavia Santoro is chair of ProColombia. She explains that “2021 will bring enormous tourism opportunities for Colombia because we’ve spent the past year preparing for the new requirements of this situation.” She points out that “we want to show the world how we have progressed with sustainability goals for the industry because we are very aware of our natural and cultural wealth. We have a Sustainability Policy, and we’ve reformed the Tourism Law to promote tourism activities that conserve this country’s natural treasures while also encouraging development in all our regions.”

And for the MICE sector, Flavia Santoro points out that “this year we will host some of the most important events for this segment, such as the ICCA Congress and Fiexpo. And Colombia is ready to be the ideal venue for hybrid events in the region.”

Meetings Tourism

ProColombia has identified the signposts on the road ahead in the sector’s development to transform Colombia into Latin America's leading venue for the MICE industry. It has analysed the recovery prospects for other sectors, which could soon be driving demand for events, conventions, and incentive travel, which will have a beneficial effect on tourism stakeholders in the country’s different regions.

The industries it has identified include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and toiletries, and the oil and gas sector. Other sectors with good prospects are information and communications technology (ICT), retail, and e‑commerce, which are growing in Colombia, thanks to recent growth in inward direct investment.

Also, ProColombia believes that the key to the future success of the meetings tourism industry will be a multi-sector approach that can create an attractive product, but above all one that’s safe and creates confidence for decision makers. This, together with the actors in the tourism chain working together in coordination, and a unique quality offer, will allow the industry to continue to revive in 2021.

Colombia wants to adapt to the changing demands of the meetings industry due to the current situation. This year we’ll see more hybrid events, those that are only partly in-person, so online meeting systems will be increasingly prevalent. So Colombia has been getting ready to become a major host for this type of events.

One of ProColombia’s actions as part of the plan for revitalising the country’s tourism industry is the campaign carried out with the National Network of Bureaus with the slogan “Change the date, not the destination.” This aims to keep alive its contacts with organisers of major world events, to maintain Colombia’s position as a venue for their meetings. That has meant that events like the IDB Assembly, ICCA, FIEXPO, World Neurosurgery Congress and Devcon will still take place.

Several Colombian venues have been awarded the government’s “Check-in COVID-19 Biosecure Certified” label, which is endorsed by the World Tourism Organization and the World Travel & Tourism Council. These are Ágora and Corferias in Bogotá, Puerta de Oro in Barranquilla, Estelar Santa Mar Hotel and Convention Centre in Santa Marta, and the Las Américas Hotel and Convention Centre in Cartagena, and the Cartagena de Indias Convention Centre, and others.

Nature Guide

Colombia has launched its first nature tourism guide, which will enable the country to take advantage of its potential as an international tourist destination with sustainable and responsible activities. The Guide will serve as a code of ethics for professionals specialising in the subject, interpreters, and travellers from around the world who want to expand their knowledge about Columbia’s attractions and natural wealth. This is the country with the greatest biodiversity per square metre, according to the UN.

It is about “COntemplation, COmprehension, and COnservation: An Illustrated Handbook for Nature Tourism Guides in Colombia,” a project led by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and ProColombia, with the support of USAID’s Natural Wealth Program; the Humboldt Institute; the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and with the Punto Aparte Editores quality seal.

courtesy of procolombia