Colombia’s Great Commitment to the MICE Industry
María Eugenia Oriani, manager of MICE for ProColombia, is a passionate woman dedicated to working for her country. She tells about Colombia’s huge commitment to promote the MICE industry.
With more than 30 years of experience in different sectors of tourism, today Ms. Oriana shares her extensive knowledge of Colombia, calling it “the most charming country in the world.”
“When I came to ProColombia the situation was difficult, but of the 514 events we were to have in 2020, we were able to retain and reschedule 74 percent of them for 2021 and 2022. We didn’t want to lose the businesses than had put their faith in our country,” stated María Eugenia, who is about to finish her first year on the job.
Challenges and keys to success for Colombia’s reactivation
The great challenges are booking events and international positioning of Colombia. One positive thing is the restoration of air travel connectivity (almost 70 percent of seats sold in 2019), including new routes that didn’t exist before the pandemic.
“I see a bright future and positive panorama for Colombia. If we have been well positioned for recreational tourism, we can do the same as a MICE destination. The meetings industry is going to explode next year!” assured María Eugenia Oriani.
Keys to the reactivation of Colombia are business alliances, networking and knowing how to listen to the advice of entrepreneurs to find solutions and appropriate proposals. “We are giving meeting planners the tools they need to facilitate planning and design events,” she stated.
The cross and inter-sectoral work being done in conjunction with commercial offices, andproviding leads to the network of conventions & visitors bureaus in order to book and land deals are among the main benefits ofProColombia.
“Many sectors and regions of the country still do not know the meetings industrywell. We have to professionalize it, amplify it, give it a name,” added Oriani.
Oddly enough, the pandemic in Colombia brought about a boom in the weddings and romance sector, which helps strengthen the MICE industry. Other strong segments in the country are health and wellness tourism and sustainable tourism.
Colombia is solidifying a new cultural interpretation of the MICE industry
“’The ambassadors’ is a successful program. Colombian business people on the world stage want to give back. Not so much celebrities as important persons in different sectors,” commented ProColombia’s meetings manager.
Working with young people from universities through a link with the MICE industry is creating internships and thus capturing new talent.
“We also need to formalize the value chain for the MICE industry beginning with the government, creating a reliable source of taxes and benefits, with compensation for the country as well as for industry professionals,” she concluded.