Data from the International Association of Congresses and Conventions (ICCA) say that each year there are approximately 120,000 congresses in the world, with at least 120 million participants and these figures generate $ 11,000 Million US dollars.
Costa Rica is a tropical paradise, acclaimed by tourists and constantly improving. To be able to compete in the market, it is necessary to diversify, expanding its development through the meetings industry.
Now, Costa Rica is not new to the market, since 1998 it has the “Costa Rica Convention Bureau” (http://www.costaricacvb.com), an organization of private specialists in the segment of meetings, conventions, and incentive trips.
According to a plan by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), the country is expected to attract close to $1.3 million USD in the next five years by hosting at least 950 congresses and conventions with a minimum assistance of 500 delegates each.
The plan of the ICT named “Ambassadors Program” involves the active participation of leaders in various rich sectors in the country as “country ambassadors”; their “job” will be to draw visitors to the country to engage in diverse seminars, conventions, etc.
You might also like to read: Finally! Costa Rica’s Convention Center laid its first stone
Arnaldo Nardone, Director of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), stressed that an ambassador is defined as an expert with much prestige and influence in his area of professional activity that can act as a representative of his country, so the Ambassadors Program consists of a set of activities, tools, and services designed exclusively to help ambassadors meet their goal of attracting events to Costa Rica.
To use an example, a physician who specializes in orthopedics can present Costa Rica’s candidature to host a regional or world congress in that particular specialty, with the assessment of the ICT and the Costa Rica Conventions Bureau.
The United States and Latin America are the first markets to be aimed in this five-year plan according to consultant Juan José García.
The plan to use the meetings tourism market goes hand in hand with the building of the Costa Rica National Congress and Convention Center which is expected to be concluded by the beginning of 2018.
García explained that the amount of $1.3 million USD is calculated in data by the International Association of Congresses and Conventions for the year 2015; according to this source, a delegate in a congress invests aside from the plane ticket, an average of $2,255 USD during his stay in the hosting country.
Mauricio Ventura, Minister of Tourism, explained that the international prestige the country has gained as a destination for vacation and adventure tourism sets the base to successfully promote other forms of tourism.
The World Economic Forum listed Costa Rica in the first place for ecotourism and second in adventure tourism. Costa Rica’s geographic location, excellent weather and improved air connections with more direct flights also play an important role.
Costa Rica will be competing in this new modality with countries that have been part of this market for years, such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru.
(2017). Presidencia de la RepÃºblica de Costa Rica. Retrieved 3 March, 2017, from https://presidencia.go.cr/comunicados/2017/03/1-y-2-de-marzo-ict-lanzo-programa-de-embajadores-de-turismo-de-reuniones/.
(2017). The Costa Rica Star. Retrieved 3 March, 2017, from http://news.co.cr/costa-rica-expects-attract-1-300-million-meetings-tourism-5-years/57317/.
In-text citation: (Laura alvarado, 2017)
Curated by Carlos Soto and Olga Sáenz for Premio DMC