COVID-19 has only arrived in South America at a later stage, but its effects were felt seriously. Now Bogota is getting ready for its reopening and for welcoming again thousands of international visitors.
Latin American countries are facing an unprecedented health crisis that is dragging back their economies. Now that the curve is flattening, Colombia sets to reopen much of the key services and to lift a big part of the emergency measures, which will represent a major recovery step for meetings and events.
The Greater Bogota Convention Bureau (GBCB) has never stopped, instead they implemented a number of campaigns, such as #SeeYouinBogota, aimed to target high-impact events and to cater new clients and affiliates.
These are decisive actions to preserve the status of a BestCities Global Alliance’s pristine member that moved up one spot in the 2019 ICCA rankings, positioning itself in the top five meeting cities in Latin America.
“We have identified 200 opportunities for our city and presented 27 bids for events to be hosted from 2021 to 2027,” says GBCB’s executive director Liliana Orbegozo Convers. As for measurable goals until the end of 2020, the GBCB's goal is to bring 16 events for the city, in a year that they believe is “to sow for later harvesting”. The El Dorado International Airport is planning to restart international commercial flights soon, meanwhile it is open for domestic flights.
The city is currently working on another campaign named #ChangeTheDateNotTheDestination. “The purpose of the campaign is to retain these events in Bogota, highlighting their importance in the city´s reactivation, its economic and social development,” Convers adds.
To achieve this, various service sectors related to the MICE industry tested their biosafety protocols and the bureau is pushing forward the COVID-19 Biosafety Check-In Certification Seal, while closely watching the global situation to adopt best practices in case of a second wave. “All the safety measures will ensure that this kind of events could be hosted with large crowds in a controlled way,” Convers says. “Historically, tourism has proven to be a key driver of international recovery, given that it triggers economic and social development for destinations.”
At Zona MICE, one of the most important trade fairs in the region with focus on business rounds between buyers and suppliers, virtual events were also discussed and conclusions did not differ from the dominant opinion: technology is a great solution for the time being but face-to-face will never disappear. “Human interaction is essential for developing industries and for GDP growth,” Convers says. “Events where people meet are the ideal way for transferring know-how, doing business, bringing investments and learning new things.”
Both Colombia and its capital have taken important steps towards responsible tourism by advancing in terms of sustainability. The country joined the Future of Tourism Coalition to promote post-pandemic travel, while Bogotá created the Synergies for Change initiative that lets each event contribute to the sustainable development goals.
Caption: Liliana Orbegozo Convers, executive director at Greater Bogota Convention Bureau
Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.