Specialists in diverse fields, like doctors and leaders of social organizations, will become ambassadors of the convention tourism, is the plan of the ICT. (Adrián Soto,)

Q COSTA RICA – The goal of Costa Rica’s tourism board, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) is to organize 950 conferences and conventions for 500 people each in the next five years, generating US$1.3 billion in revenue.

The five-year plan presented by the  ICT is based on the opening of the Centro Nacional de Congresos y Convenciones (CNCC) – National Congress and Convention Center, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018, according to Tourism Minister, Mauricio Ventura.

“… The consultant Juan Jose Garcia explained that they have identified within this plan that number of meetings (950 in five years), with participants from the United States and Latin America, which are the first markets to be focused on in this five year plan.”

Garcia explained that US$1.3 billion is based on data from the International Association of Congresses and Conventions, 2015 (latest available data), to which each delegate spending, aside from airfare, on average US$$2,255 during their stay in the country.

Minister Ventura believes that the international prestige by Costa Rica as a destination for leisure tourism will be the basis for developing the modality of congresses and meetings. The minister recalled that the World Economic Forum placed Costa Rica first in nature tourism and second in adventure, which increases the country’s prestige abroad.

In addition, Costa Rica is one of the countries with the highest rates of car rental worldwide, which implies two things, according to the minister: First, that there is security in the country and is driveable and, second, that it is possible (for visitors) to interact with the local inhabitants without danger.

The having no army, Costa Rica’s democracy and being less than three hours flying time from the United States, in addition to excellent weather and better aerial connections, improved over the years with the arrival of more airlines, also work in Costa Rica’s favor, emphasized Ventura.

The only negative to the ICT’s conference and convention center is the competition Costa Rica will face against nations, such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru, very prepared and with advanced strategic plans for this type of tourism.

This due to Costa Rica’s dragging its feet on developing the CNCC, a plan that has been in the works since 2000.

Source La Nacion