By Tamarindo News Staff Photo by: Tamarindo News Files
Economic impact of events is $180 million.
The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) confirmed that the agency will host 60 international seminars between 2017 and 2021.
These events will bring together more than 32,000 participants and generate an economic impact of almost $180 million.
Mauricio Ventura, Minister of Tourism, explained that these assemblies are part of a strategy implemented by the ICT to expand its ventures into new industries such as meetings tourism. “When we thought about expanding our national tourism offerings, we sought to enter into high value industries that could be carried out throughout the country, at any time of the year, with greater income than that of the average vacation tourist.
For these reasons, we ventured into wellness and meeting tourisms using planned strategies that actually generate positive results for the country,” Ventura explained.
Consolidated strategy In 2015, the ICT initiated an aggressive strategy to compete in the global meetings industry.
This included participation in specialized tourism fairs, realization of strategic alliances with the main national and international organizations, the development of a promotional plan to enter into this niche and the hiring of world-class consultants, among other aspects. In addition, the ICT created the Meeting Tourism Department, made up of skilled professionals that prepare the nation and compete with the National Meetings and Conventions Center (to be inaugurated in April 2018).
This is the visible head of the government with regards to the meetings tourism market. The ICT also launched the program “Ambassadors of the Costa Rica Meetings Tourism” to involve institutions and associations in attracting world events that can be presented in the country. In 2017 alone, at least 100 representatives of various associations had been accredited as tourism ambassadors for meetings in Costa Rica.
According to Tatiana Orozco, head of the Tourism Division of ICT Meetings, this year, Costa Rica has strengthened its position in the meeting industry after improving in the International Association of Meetings and Conventions (ICCA) ranking, going from 63rd to 53rd among 200 countries. Likewise, Minister of Tourism Mauricio Ventura received the highest prize in the Latin American Forum for participation in the promotion of meetings tourism.
He is the first Costa Rican to be given in this award. Another aspect that has helped raise the profile of Costa Rica has been the strengthening of the Convention Bureau, which has become an essential component attracting corporate seminars in this country. Pablo Solano, Costa Rican Convention Bureau Executive Director explained: “We are very pleased to see these results because the joint strategy to promote the meetings industry and the bookings of seminars and conferences was implemented relatively recently. As representatives of the private sector, we are aware of the excellent conditions that Costa Rica offers to compete in this market´s niche.
Nevertheless, professionalism and certification of the people involved in this activity must be strengthened given that international standards are very strict. The convention tourism industry is very sensitive, therefore helpfulness must be excellent. Definitely, the boost of the National Center of Meetings and Conventions of Costa Rica will have a positive impact on this branch of tourism.”