Meetings, events, and incentive travel are important business in Guatemala: the meetings industry represents US $786.7 million, or 1.2% of Guatemala’s GDP, with over 70% of meetings and events held in Guatemala City, 14% in La Antigua Guatemala, and the balance in the rest of the country. In 2016 alone the country hosted over 19,500 meetings with over 1.1 million participants, 68% of which were corporate in nature. Currently, Guatemala is working on increasing its market share in the industry by participating in international trade shows and promotional tours; hosting fam trips for meeting planners; holding press conferences, presentations, and blitzes; and empowering associations, universities, and other entities to attract events while consolidating its offer.
I WANT TO CONGRATULATE GUATEMALA FOR ITS EXCELLENT WORK DURING THIS MEETING, WHICH WAS VERY PRODUCTIVE. THE ORGANIZATION HAS BEEN SUPERB AND SPLENDID. BIG CITIES MIGHT HAVE GREAT ORGANIZATIONS, BUT [THEY TEND TO BE] COLD; IT HAS BEEN PROVEN HERE THAT OTHER [CITIES] CAN DO AN EXTRAORDINARY JOB.
–JACQUES ROGGE President of the IOC 119th Assembly of The International Olympic Committee (IOC)
THIS COUNTRY —GUATEMALA— HAS A LOT OF POTENTIAL; IT IS A DESTINATION WHERE YOU CAN HOST ANY TYPE OF CONGRESS, CONVENTION, OR BUSINESS TOURISM, IT OFFERS ALL THE FACILITIES TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ATTENDEES TO THIS TYPE OF EVENTS AS IT HAS ACCOMMODATIONS AND CHARMING PLACES TO VISIT.
President of the FEAAV XXVI Annual Congress of the Spanish Federation of Travel Agencies
Guatemala has the biggest economy in the region and a business climate conducive to international investment. According to the International Monetary Fund, the area has not decreased economically in the last 30 years, translating into an active foreign trade network with the United States, Canada, Colombia and even Luxembourg, along with diverse export sectors and target markets with growth registered in the garment industry, iron and steel, electric power, and produce, among others. Of note for planners: vertical markets are mainly pharmaceutical (corporate) and medical (associations), finance, insurance and banking, a growing IT segment, and food and fresh produce sectors. This economic stability has created the ninth country in Latin America with the most significant labor force and an educational system with 15 universities offering various academic and technical degrees, providing Guatemala with a talented professional services sector.
Guatemala has invested wisely in infrastructure and professional training programs that have proven to follow international standards. There are over 200 spaces that have been identified as meetings and events facilities, from conference rooms, hotel meetings and convention centers, event halls, museums, theaters, public squares, and more. Add to this a highly-skilled, multilingual specialized workforce, service providers, and ground operators, plus excellent domestic and international connectivity both by land and air, and the country can offer a solid proposal for any size meeting, event, or incentive trip. Of note is the fact that Guatemala is one of the Central American countries with the highest Internet penetration with over 7.3 million users.
From welcoming kings, presidents, and other heads-of-state requiring the utmost in service, security, and privacy to hosting large medical, academic, and corporate conventions and congresses, Guatemala has long been viewed as a premier destination in Central America for meeting planners of the highest caliber. Some of the most recent events include the 64th UNWTO Meeting of the Regional Commission of the Americas, the XXVI Ibero American Summit of Heads of State and Government, the 1st Ibero American Conference of Ministers of Finance and Tourism, and the 2019 IAAPA Latin American Summit (The Global Association for the Attractions Industry).
Guatemala is the Heart of the Mayan World, the birthplace of one of the most important preColumbian Mesoamerican civilizations in history. These ancient people left behind an astounding legacy that can be viewed in the beautifully restored archaeological sites —including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal—, but also in a brilliant Maya culture still very much alive in well in the many indigenous groups that make up a good portion of the population. The country’s varied cultural heritage also presents a robust European legacy, patent in its grand colonial buildings and blended traditions. This verdant country is home, too, to a wealth of wonders in the form of volcanoes, vast lakes, nature reserves, virgin rainforests, rivers, and more.
Guatemala’s commitment to the development of sustainable tourism extends to events and best practices aligned with international sustainability standards. Meeting planners are encouraged to integrate corporate social responsibility into their events via a catalog of volunteer opportunities offered by INGUAT (Guatemala Tourism Board) to help mitigate environmental impact. Of note is the fact that Guatemala City was declared a Green Capital in 2019 by the Union of Ibero American Capitals (UCCI), and there are currently approximately 140 service providers and businesses that have received the government’s “Q” environmental seal of approval.
Guatemala is a pioneer in establishing security measures to guarantee the safety of its visitors. The country instituted a tourist safety division in 2001, a tourist assistance department in 2005, and a public prosecutor’s office in the public ministry to attend to crimes against tourists since 2014. To date, INGUAT has welcomed 28,000 groups in coordination with these entities with zero safety incidents. These services can also be requested by meeting planners, the Conventions Bureau, or specialized tour operators. The government can arrange caravan services and escorts to the borders, perimeter security services, and VIP service. The number to dial for security services is 1500.
XVI Central American Congress of Sociology (ACAS)
XXXII Archaeological Research Symposium in Guatemala
IXXX Congress of the Latin American Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology (SLAOT)
1st Central American Summit for Community Tourism
Ibero American Rural Tourism Summit
XXVI Ibero American Summit of Heads of State and Government Primera Conferencia
1st Ibero American Conference of Ministers of Finance and Tourism
AAPA Latin American Summit
64th UNWTO Meeting of the Regional Commission of the Americas
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