Promoting international and professional development of Chile’s MICE industry
In October we are rediscovering South America, and we went to Chile to interview Javier Contreras, president of MPI’s Club Chile Project and a member of Future Leaders Council of ICCA.
Javier is the commercial director of CentroParque Convention Center, one of Chile’s largest and best known. As often happens, he got into the MICE industry through the back door, after his first career as an industrial civil engineer.
“I saw that Chile was in its infancy and decided that this would be my field. Professionals of this industry can no longer arrive by chance, we have to be a more visible sector so that those who want to contribute to its destiny can do so, because they recognize the socio-economic possibilities there,” stated Javier Contreras.
With more than 10 years’ experience in the sector, Javier and other Chilean professionals are looking to add value to the MICE industry of their country, as the academic sector is valued, confronting in this case the language barrier faced by all of Latin America.
How was the MPI Club Chile Project conceived?
Javier comments that the fledgling MPI Club Chile Project followed Colombia’s lead.
“A group of Chilean professionals who were associated with Club Colombia—because their businesses had branches in Colombia—formed MPI Club Chile Project. The initiative was launched a year ago and finalized the 20th of April of this year. I would say we are the first to do so in South America,” elaborated Javier Contreras.
The new MPI club project currently has 20 members; 10 more are needed to establish the club, which they will surely achieve, since in Javier’s words, meetings and conventions are the business of the future, an industry that is not seasonal and generates an important dynamism for the country.
“In Chile the MICE industry is small but very professional, and with lots of potential; 18 percent of international and national tourism comes from business travel. The sector is growing rapidly and MPI will help it become professional and sustainable,” added the president of the Chilean project.
Chile seeks professionalism and internationalization
Chile’s tourism sector is strong in adventure, cruises and business meetings. In the opinion of the president of MPI’s Club Chile Project, it is vital to generate a stronger national position and above all, to attract conventions and international events.
Chile has followed a strict pandemic protocol; it has remained closed to tourism and strictly applied prevention strategies, allowing it to contain the spread of the virus. An impressive 90 percent of the population has received a double dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The country’s biosecurity measures provide an advantage now as they open borders to seek an international market, in light of the relevant value given the health factor in the selection of destinations during “the new normal.”
Other factors in Chile’s favor are the sustainability practices guiding the country, where single-use plastics are forbidden by law, for example. In the case of Santiago, the capital and largest city is a super attractive metropolis for meetings and events, offering over-the-top experiences.