World-Class Events with a Colombian Touch
A solid infrastructure and talented teams full of charisma, creativity and expertise make Colombia the ideal destination to celebrate each congress and convention as a unique experience.
Bogota has several convention centers with a capacity of up to 15,000 people.
Some the most striking non-traditional venues in the capital include the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, built inside an old salt mine.
Colombia is a country of encounters. Cultural diversity converges in towns and cities generating surprising conversations; the most varied landscapes meet in nearby territories, giving us the feeling of being in many countries at the same time; salsa, urban music, champeta, vallenato, joropo, cumbia and chirimia coexist in a vast sound landscape; visitors of the most varied origins meet hospitable local people in holiday, partying, sports, cultural, work and business scenarios. Precisely in connection to this—business—the congresses and conventions organized in the country put to the test this vocation of meeting space consolidated by its infrastructure and by the quality of its people.
In recent years, Colombia has hosted important events such as the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, the FIFA World Council and One Young World, the most relevant meeting of young leaders in the world. These three activities brought together more than 5,000 attendees, generated nearly 2,500 jobs, and made it clear that Colombia has the capabilities required to host big events.
The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) supports such statement. In the 2018 ICCA Statistics Report Country & City Rankings, a scale that measures how many international congresses were held in 165 countries and that is used to calculate the competitive advantages of those nations in terms of meetings tourism, Colombia ranked 29th, surpassing countries such as Chile, Russia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Colombia not only offers a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional venues. As far as congresses and conventions are concerned, the country has developed a real know-how that allows it to present itself as a reliable partner to potential clients.
Our country stands out for the human quality of those who work developing events and the commitment they have to all of their clients: it is not only a matter of meeting goals, but of doing so with enthusiasm, desire, and willingness. In the same way, we have also made a name for ourselves thanks to the creativity we into on every event, The staging and shows that different Colombian companies carry out—such as the mapping that was displayed on the facade of the Palace of Justice to mark the opening of the One Young World in 2017—show that that event architecture has become a local specialization.
The congresses and conventions that have taken place in Colombia have been made possible thanks to cross-cutting conversations between different actors such as meeting planners, hotels and professional congress organizers in the country. These conversations start from a simple premise: in the Colombian events industry, it is not the strongest supplier who survives, but rather the one that best complements the others. Thus, a congress or convention held in Colombia is the result of multiple industries joining forces and creating the necessary synergy to bring together an audience. However, one of the most important points in this joint effort are the venues: places that have been built in the spirit of bringing people together under a single roof in order to generate knowledge collectively. Colombia has more than 600 venues, distributed in 27 convention centers, 455 hotels with meeting rooms, and 117 non-traditional locations.
If Colombia is the ideal destination for your next event, the next step is to contact the local convention bureau, which will be in charge of providing you with specialized assistance and communicating with the companies and suppliers most in line with your expectations. For now, find out what the most important cities in the country have to offer and give free rein to the dream of holding a congress or convention in Colombia.
The country’s capital has all the necessary infrastructure to hold world-class events: El Dorado International Airport, hotels by renowned international chains, the largest and most impressive convention centers in Colombia and a wide range of services that make any event a memorable occasion.
Bogota, the only city in the country with a venue that can accommodate up to 15,000 people, obtained 46 of the 147 ICCA-type congresses hosted in Colombia during 2018. This figure placed the capital in sixth place in Latin America in this category of events, following Buenos Aires, Lima, São Paulo, Santiago de Chile and Panama City.
The congresses and conventions that have been and will be held in Bogota in the coming years would not be possible without the traditional venues offered by the city and its surrounding municipalities. Some of the most relevant are Corferias, Agora Bogota, G-12, Tequendama Convention Center, Compensar Avenida 68 Convention Center, Cosmos 100 Hotel and Convention Center, Sheraton Convention Center, the Marroquin Castle, the José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden, the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, El Chico Museum and the Luis Ángel Arango Library.
Its tropical climate and the blend of colonial and modern architecture create the perfect environment to organize cultural events—such as the Hay Festival, or cinema evens—such as the Cartagena de Indias International Film Festival (FICCI). However, the capital of the department of Bolívar has also consolidated itself as a great destination for congresses and conventions: in 2019 the city held events such as Tourism Tech Adventures, the World Maritime Summit and the World Independent Advertising Awards. In the future, it will host the FIEXPO 2020 World Congress, the ICCA in 2021, after a selection process in which it competed with cities such as Rotterdam and Athens.
Holding a congress or convention in Cartagena takes meeting tourism to a whole new dimension, and those who come to the country for business reasons find a city that manages to integrate its past with the future, a mix that offers spaces such as the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, the Las Americas Convention Center, the Cartagena Hilton Convention Center, the Plaza de La Aduana, Plaza de Bolívar, the Adolfo Mejía Theater, the San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the Baluarte Santa Clara and the Galeon Phantom.
The City of Eternal Spring is the ideal place to hold large-scale events in unique locations in the country, such as Plaza Mayor, the Intercontinental Hotel Convention Center, the José Gutiérrez Gómez Metropolitan Theater, the Museum of Antioquia and the Pueblito Paisa. The Orquideorama of the Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden, a building that won the 2007 Lapiz de Acero and Lapiz de Acero Azul architecture awards, is one of the most impressive and captivating non-traditional venues in the country.
For those who wish to hold a congress or convention in the capital of Antioquia, Medellin offers the strength and excellent readiness that characterizes its people. Customer service is one of the greatest assets this city has to offer in terms of meetings tourism, and surely one of the factors that has allowed it to hold 25 ICCA-type congresses in 2018 (the figure was only surpassed by Cartagena, with 35, and Bogota, with 46) and other events of international importance such as the Latin American Congress on Public and Urban Transport in 2018, the World Summit of Cities in 2019 and the Gabo Festival, an event for journalists that has been held annually in Medellin since 2012.
Although Cali is the sports capital of Colombia, its offer of non-traditional venues suggests that it also is the ideal city to hold cultural events associated with music, audiovisuals and the plastic arts, such as the Cali Fair, the Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival and the Cali International Film Festival. Some of the venues the city offers for this type of events include the Valle del Pacifico Events Center, the Jorge Isaacs Theater, the Enrique Buenaventura Municipal Theater, the Cali Cultural Center, the El Paraiso Hacienda and the La Tertulia Modern Art Museum.
The capital of Valle del Cauca has an ethnic and social diversity that has allowed it to expand the range of services offered to those holding events in the city. In that sense, Cali is a city where a congress or convention can be accompanied by exquisite flavors, enthralling cultural experiences, and music to liven up any occasion. Movement and joy are part of the city’s essence, two qualities that are part of the events that take place there to make them dynamic, entertaining and enjoyable.
Barranquilla’s long carnival tradition has turned its inhabitants into excellent hosts: every year, the city receives thousands of tourists to celebrate a new edition of the Carnival of Barranquilla, declared a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage by UNESCO in 2003. In the same way, having been the main host of the XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games prepared the city to receive important sports competitions, and the fact that it has the necessary infrastructure to hold congresses and conventions made the capital of Atlantico the ideal destination to host events related to the MICE industry: according to the ICCA, between 2017 and 2018 the city doubled the number of ICCA congresses: it went from 3 to 6, an increase that shows the potential that associations, companies and individuals find in the capital of Atlantico. In the future, Barranquilla will host the IDB World Assembly (2020).
Some of the city’s choices for traditional and non-traditional venues include the Jumbo Events Center, the Caribbean Events and Exhibition Center Puerta de Oro, the San Antonio de Salgar Castle, the El Caribe Cultural Park, La Cueva Restaurant and the Sabanilla Country Club.
The Valle del Pacifico Event Center has a total area of 110,000 m²
The Getsemani Auditorium, in the Convention Center of Cartagena de Indias, can seat more than 1,400 people.
The Orquideorama at the Medellin Botanical Garden allows for events while enjoying the sounds of birdsong and the wind.
The Enrique Buenaventura Municipal Theater transforms any event in Cali into a journey through time.