The 60 conventions planned for the next five years in Costa Rica will bring together more than 32,000 people and have an economic impact of almost $180 million.

The Centro Nacional de Congresos y Convenciones is expected to opens its doors in April 2018

From a statement issued by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, “The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT), confirmed the realization of 60 international conventions in Costa Rica, between 2017 and 2021. These events will bring together more than 32,000 participants and generate an economic impact of almost US$180 million dollars.

The construction of the National Convention Center, located in Barreal de Heredia, is moving forward, the work at 80% after 10 months of having started. Photo El Financiero

Tourism Minister, Mauricio Ventura, explained that the attraction of these conventions is part of a strategy implemented by the ICT to expand its offer and venture into industries which have great potential such as tourism based around meetings.

Confirmed Congresses 
Year Quantity of events Number of participants  Economic impact (in US$)
2017 28 10 780 60.044.600
2018 19 8 712 48.525.840
2019 8 9 350 52.079.500
2020 3 1 980 11.028.600
2021 2 1 430 7.965.100
Total 60 32 252 179.643.640
Source: MICE Consulting.

“When we think of expanding the country’s tourism offer, we seek to enter into highly positioned industries that have in common that could be carried out throughout the country, at any time of the year and whose spending is greater than that of the vacation tourist. That is how we ventured into wellness tourism and of course meeting tourism, with planned strategies that are clearly generating very positive results for the country,” explained Ventura.

The ICT adopted in 2015 an aggressive strategy to compete in the world for conventions, which includes participation in specialized tourism fairs, the realization of strategic alliances with important national and international organizations, the development of a promotional plan to venture in this niche, the hiring of world-class expert consultants, among other aspects.

In addition, the ICT created the Division of Meetings Tourism in the ICT conformed by professionals who are specialized to manage this important industry, with the objective of preparing the country and competing with the National Center of Congresses and Conventions, (Convention Center that is under construction on the in Heredia, on the autopista General Cañas), which will open its doors in April 2018.

Similarly, in order to ensure the dynamism of this industry, this year the ICT also launched the Program of Ambassadors in Meetings Tourism of Costa Rica, in order to involve institutions and associations in attracting global events to the country. In 2017 alone, at least 100 representatives of various associations have been accredited, as ambassadors in tourism for meetings in Costa Rica.

According to Tatiana Orozco, in charge of the Tourism Division of ICT Meetings, this year Costa Rica has reinforced its position in the meetings industry, after advancing in the world ranking of meetings tourism, carried out by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ), going from position 63 to 53 among 200 countries. Likewise, the Minister of Tourism received the most important award in the region (Latin American Forum) after promoting meeting tourism, becoming the first Costa Rican to obtain this important recognition.