The Centro Nacional de Congresos y Convenciones – National Convention Center – under construction next to Plaza Cariari, fronting on the autopista General Cañas, is being built by the ICT on land is owned by PIMA. Photo Graciela Solis, La Nacion

Q COSTA RICA – In Costa Rica the new Centro Nacional de Congresos y Convenciones (CNCC) – National Convention Center – still under construction, in Heredia next to the Plaza Cariari, is missing out on opportunities to promote itself overseas due to a delay to choose its future administrator.

This delay arises because the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR) questioned the process to award the tender contract to the company to manage it.

The point in dispute is that a third-party would be given the administration of a building constructed by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Institute – in a land that it does not own.

The CNCC is in the construction phase, on a 10 hectares (24 acres) property with access to the Autopista General Cañas, ceded to the ICT by the Programa Integral de Mercadeo Agropecuario (PIMA) – Integral Program of Agricultural MarketingThe building will be 15,600 square meters (167,000 square feet) and the investment amounts to US$35 million.

Both the ICT and the PIMA are government agencies.

Companies in the tourism sector state that most major events and congresses are negotiated up to two years in advance, and because the convention center does not have a management company set rental rates and other aspects, the possibilities for promoting the venue abroad is greatly reduced.

Pablo Solano, Executive Director of the Costa Rica Convention Bureau, explained to that “…while the building is being constructed the country can promote it as a tourism destination of this type, which is very important and laudable. However, he warned, customers need information about rates, types of contracts, possible promotions for use over several days and other details that have to be decided on by the management or negotiated with them.”

Tourism Minister, Mauricio Ventura, explained that the ICT is now in the process of defining a new procedure in order to be able to carry out the tender call.


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