The commendable humanitarian work of Convention Centers

Asia leads the way in reactivating in-person meetings; by 2021, it could recoup 75% of its 2019 performance.

Get to know LATAM’s newest “MICE Cathedrals” in Panama and Colombia.


Convention centers are the pillars of the meetings industry, and through their humanitarian work throughout the pandemic, they have embodied the values and ideals inherent to this industry.

Brad Maye, president and CEO of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) reported that around 30% of the world’s venues were converted into temporary hospitals to deal with the unexpected and growing number of people infected by the Covid-19 virus, which quickly overwhelmed the hospital capacity in thousands of cities.

One of the most publicized examples of this was the Convention Center of El Salvador, which was transformed into the largest hospital in Latin America. Initially, this was due to the Covid-19 issue. Still, it remains to be seen whether it will return to its original function as a venue for events or be permanently dedicated to healthcare services.

Cities with a convention center have a space that, in addition to generating multiple benefits for the community on account of their ability to host events, are buildings that can provide potential help in the face of different types of adversities, as was the case during the present situation.

Asia leads the reactivation of in-person events

Asia, led by China, is dominating the race for the resurgence of in-person events in terms of the number of events and attendee capacity.

Based on the numbers generated in 2019, the International Association of Events & Exhibitions (IAEE) president, David Dubois, reported that China has already recovered 75% of events by 2021.

The United States and Europe expect to regain around 40-50% of their activity, while Mexico and Canada will probably reach close to 25% this year.

These are all estimates, and although events are reactivating, the volume of in-person participation still falls short of 50% compared to 2019.

Panama, Mexico, and Colombia debut new “MICE Cathedrals” in Latin America

Set to open on July 1, 2021, the  Panama Conventions Center (PCC) is the second most important government construction in Panama’s history. It is located in Amador, on a small peninsula in the Panama Canal.

The monumental building covers 60,000 m² (645,834 ft²) of construction area, with approximately 33,500 m² (360,591 ft²) of functional space. The exhibition halls with 15,000 m² (161,458 ft²) of space are in one wing, and in the other, the largest banquet hall in Panama measuring 4,000 m² (43,055 ft²).

In Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Grupo Posadas is set to open the Fiesta Americana Tulkal Riviera Maya and Live Aqua Beach Resort Tulkal—in summer and fall 2021, respectively—which are connected to the Tulkal Convention Center.

Tulkal is one of the hottest new destinations in the Mexican Caribbean. Its CC will accommodate up to 3,000 people in its main hall, up to 1,000 people on its terrace, a 400-seat theater, and two boardrooms.

The megaproject Arena del Río, a multifaceted urban complex with $407 million of domestic and foreign private investment, was recently announced. It will extend over 31 hectares along the Gran Malecon in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Its structure will feature a smart city format, with various facilities for events and meetings, hotel rooms and luxury suites, apartments, restaurants, bars, and much more. It will be the most important in the Colombian Caribbean.


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