May 20, 2011
Colombia is giving one more step forward on its sustained campaign to promote the country as a high quality international tourism destination. This time, the South American nation will have a special participation at IMEX 2011, the largest annual world fair, directed exclusively to the specialized and highly lucrative travel segment of meetings, incentives, congresses and events. The gathering will take place in the German city of Frankfurt from the 24 to the 26 of May and will congregate around 3500 exhibitors from 157 countries, including representatives from Tourism Offices, airlines, hotel groups, tour operators, Conventions and Visitors Bureaus and many other outfitters of services related with Congresses and Incentives Travel.
Colombia's presence at IMEX 2011 is led by Proexport-Colombia, the organism which centralizes de promotion of the country's for-export goods, including tourism and travel. The main Colombian travel outfitters will be present, along with the Medellìn and Bogota Conventions Bureaus and the Cali Chamber of Commerce.
The Colombian offer for corporate and business tourism includes fully equipped facilities for world-class congresses, incentive trips and events at superb locations like the colonial and fortified city of Cartagena; historic Santa Marta, San Andrès, Bogota, Medellìn and the Coffee Triangle. All of these locations boast state-of-the art infrastructure and technology to host all kinds of events and conventions. Among a vast array of options for this specialized travel market, Colombia can provide elegant dinners at an 18th Century fortress or museum; thematic festivities; galleon rides; horse-carriage rides; Spas; historic monuments' guided tours; golf championships; kart and even ostrich races as well as a host of adventure sports and travel activities such as trekking, rafting, canopy, extreme ropes, adventure parks, mud-volcano visits, among many more.
Germany, the host country of the IMEX Fair, has identified Colombia and the Caribbean Region as areas which offer several of the most demanded features for German travelers, such as sun and beach; luxury hotels; quality service; and activities ranging from culture and history to nature tourism and adventure sports. Meanwhile, the International Congress and Conventions Association, ICCA, on its 2010 Report, remarks that Colombia continues to consolidate as an international destination for Meetings, Incentives, Congresses and Events (identified as MICE, for its initials, in the travel industry) and currently ranks number 34 in the world, with 95 congresses hosted last year. Thus, Colombia moved three positions forward as compared with 2009.
According to the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism, 1.8 million tourists arrived in 2010, showing a sustained growth for the last five years.
With these elements in mind, the Colombian tourism authorities and the private entrepreneurs will have business appointments with key travel suppliers and will host several events, aimed at promoting the country as an ideal destination for the MICE travel segment and will enhance the efforts to convert Colombia into one of the most requested travel destinations in South America. Currently, these efforts are proving to be successful, with a remarkable growth of the tourism flow into the country.