Colombia-MICE is part of the Pelecanus Travel Group. We are located in Bogota, Colombia. We are specialized in corporate travel and all services around Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.
What are business trips?
A business trip is a trip that is not undertaken for pleasure but for work or business purposes. A trip with your colleagues to a tropical beach to strengthen team cohesion is an example of this.
For more information on features, drivers, industry, problems and solutions, see our article What is business travel?
Colombia MICE, how is the country?
Although Colombia is not exactly the focus of international companies, this South American country has a lot to offer and can be considered one of the titans of MICE tourism in Latin America thanks to its excellent geographical position, its biodiversity and its incomparable culture. That is why more and more companies and business travelers are becoming aware of it.
This tourism sector has brought great benefits to the country’s economy as, for example, hotel services are in demand and hotel occupancy increases by up to 58% depending on the season, according to DANE research. In the last two years, the main reason for travel for Colombian hotel guests was business travel, which accounted for 45%, along with other reasons such as leisure, congresses and health.
In 2019, Colombia received around 4 million international tourists. All of this is a clear example of the great appeal that Colombia has as a MICE destination, as the country has more than 30 convention centers and more than 455 hotels with spaces for large events and meetings across the country. Bogota has also been recognized twice as a leading conference destination (2020-2021) by the World Trade Awards (WTA).
Colombia in the ICCA world rankings
According to the International Congress of other conventional Association (ICCA), Colombia was the fourth largest Latin American country hosting the most international conventions in 2019.
Colombia also made it into the top 30 countries in the ICCA world rankings, number 29 to be precise, but still surpassed countries like Ireland, Russia, South Africa, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.
How has the business travel industry developed in Colombia?
In the field of MICE tourism, there is a major event in Latin America that is even recognized by the ICCA as the region’s reference fair. This is the world fair for meetings and incentives for Latin America and the Caribbean.
With the participation of most of the countries of the continent, the FIEXPO is Latin America is the ideal location for training, networking and promoting business tourism development in the region.
According to ProColombia, the country aims to become the leader in MICE tourism in Latin America by 2027.
What contributed to the development of the MICE segment in Colombia?
In the previous sections, we covered some facts about the growth of the business travel sector in Colombia. What activities or characteristics make this sector grow?
An improved sense of security
After the signing of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC in 2016, the country has a better reputation among international travelers and many regions that used to be dangerous are now safe to visit.
Improved air transport links and infrastructure
The presence of more airlines in the country, as well as the renovation of El Dorado International Airport (Bogotá) and the establishment of more domestic and international destinations also contribute to the increasing success.
Higher quality of infrastructure due to more investments
Some luxury hotels specialize in business tourism and therefore offer adequate facilities for the needs of this sector. International travelers will find high-quality standards in hotels and events in the main Colombian cities.
Sponsored by chambers of commerce and local offices
The establishment of convention bureaus in key cities has contributed to the sponsorship strategy of national institutions such as ProColombia, which aims to attract more meetings and events to the country.
Reasons why Colombia is the best MICE destination
The diversity of the country, in addition to the above-mentioned aspects of Colombia’s competitiveness in the field of MICE tourism, is another reason that makes the country an ideal tourist destination.
Colombia offers a variety of destinations, offers and activities for all types of businesses and individuals.
Colombia has excellent geographic conditions
Colombia’s privileged location as the gateway to South America gives it many advantages. First, the country has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The Andes Mountains are divided into 3 chains in the south of the country, dividing the country into 5 natural regions and the sixth region is formed by the paradisiacal Caribbean islands.
Due to the topography, one can find 5 thermal floors in Colombia, ie different climatic conditions that vary according to the altitude of the area. The lower the altitude, the hotter it is and vice versa. You will find tropical, warm beaches, temperate cities on mountain slopes, but also moorland and glaciers.
Temperatures in the main cities range from 10°C to 30°C, again depending on altitude. It is worth noting that Colombia is a tropical country where there are no seasons, so you can enjoy a stable climate all year round.
Biodiversity in Colombia
One of the aspects that attract thousands of travelers to the country every year is its biodiversity. Colombia is one of the 12 most diverse countries on our planet thanks to its privileged geographical location, its climatic diversity, its natural wealth, its flora and fauna and its beautiful ecosystems.
Colombia is the leading country in terms of the number of birds, orchids, amphibians, butterflies and other species because this country is like no other. This is of course a highlight, especially for nature lovers, but it remains an attraction for all travelers as the landscapes are breathtaking.
All these advantages mean that the country offers all kinds of travel destinations that cater to visitors’ desires for unforgettable experiences.
These are some of the opportunities that Colombia offers in terms of biodiversity:
- Natural parks for ecotourism.
- Nature reserves combine the best of the country’s diversity.
- Natural landscapes such as jungles, plains and deserts to explore
- Gardens, aquariums and zoos in different cities
- Safaris and “Cowboy” Trips (Orinoco Territory)
- Beautiful beaches to rest and relax. Rivers, waterfalls, lakes and lagoons.
- Nature and adventure tourism activities for incentive trips such as whale watching, bird watching, water sports, fishing, horseback riding, cave tours and more
A culture to discover in Colombia
Colombia has been recognized multiple times as one of the happiest and most welcoming countries in the world. Cultural highlights include its compelling history, myriad traditions, and of course, the friendly and charismatic people.
The natural division of the territory into natural regions has greatly influenced the culture of the Colombian people. That is why visiting the country is interesting, as is visiting 6 different nations, each with unique behaviors, dialects, gastronomy and traditions.
The numerous festivals and cultural events, as well as the joy of local people, make the country an ideal destination for organizing cultural and sporting events.
Thousands and thousands of events are held every year that are fundamental to the culture of this country, to nurture its history as well as the different customs of the different regions of the country.
A clear example of this is the Barranquilla Carnival, considered the most important folkloric and cultural festival in Colombia, celebrating the country’s history, ethnic diversity, rejoicing, dance, music and tradition.
Another great example is the Cartagena International Music Festival, which brings together world-class musicians, trainees and large audiences. In addition, there are a variety of Colombian figures who are internationally recognized for their contributions to literature, music, art, dance and sport.
Examples of cultural occasions and aspects in Colombia:
- There are about 10 different dialects and about 65 native languages in the regions of the country.
- More than 4,030 fairs, festivals, carnivals and events in different parts of the country highlight the peculiarities of Colombian culture every year.
- Hundreds of libraries and bookstores of all sizes.
- Several monuments that are considered architectural gems.
- Emblematic squares and palaces.
- Flea markets in the main cities where you can buy handicrafts.
- Art exhibitions, dance and music events.
- Historic districts in big cities that invite you to stroll and admire the variety of facades.
Wide gastronomic offer in Colombia
The country has a rich gastronomic tradition and has a wide variety of typical dishes. In addition, thanks to the great variety, there are thousands of renowned restaurants that offer the best dishes of international cuisine and, of course, the typical Colombian cuisine.
the most iconic dishes is the bandeja paisa , the sancocho , the ajiaco , the empanadas , the arepas , the cocido boyacense , the posta cartagenera and many others.
These are just some of the opportunities that Colombia offers in the field of gastronomy:
- Local and international fairs are dedicated to all types of food, such as the Wine & Food Festival or the Popayán Gastronomic Congress.
- International restaurants in the most luxurious areas of each city.
- Restaurants with typical dishes from each region.
- Traditional fast-food restaurants and food stalls on the main streets.
- Bars with all kinds of drinks and preparations.
- Market places where you can enjoy typical food and a variety of fruits, vegetables and other ingredients.
- Restaurants serve delicious Colombian breakfasts 24 hours a day.
- Cafeterias with a wide range of Colombian coffee and small snacks.
- Historic neighborhoods where you can take tours to learn about local cuisine.
- Villages with all kinds of gastronomic tours.
- Several wineries, wine cellars and vineyards.
- Activities such as coffee tasting.
Sports in Colombia
Sport plays a fundamental role in Colombia and is part of the culture. Currently, two sports are the most representative, namely football and cycling. Mainly because of the talented athletes who perform excellently in national and international competitions of all kinds.
But there are also a variety of other sports that are practiced in this country by both professionals and beginners. The main ones include baseball, tennis, golf, ice skating and swimming, but also extreme sports like motocross.
Tejo, specific to this country and its culture, in which you win by causing small explosions.
These are some of the opportunities that Colombia offers in the field of sports:
- Football, basketball, tennis and other sports fields in most cities, as well as large sports clubs and hotels with sports infrastructure
- Sports stadiums for observing competitions.
- Indoor and outdoor pools of different sizes depending on the location.
- Sports centers.
- Bowling lanes for professionals and beginners.
- Diverse destinations for extreme sports such as paragliding, rafting, hiking, diving, cycling (track and mountain), surfing, canyoning, caving and others.
- Golf courses with a different number of holes depending on your needs.
- Millions of facilities such as gyms to strengthen physical fitness.
Incentives – Experiences in Colombia
Team building works best when the environment is inspiring. In Colombia, you have many options to organize the perfect incentive trip for your needs. The experiences possible here are incomparable and exceed every imagination. Culture, nature, wellness, luxury and more… this country has it all.
Infrastructure and connectivity in Colombia
Colombia offers an advanced infrastructure that meets international standards to host high-profile events. The country has around 30 convention centers and 455 hotels with function rooms, and the range of non-traditional venues is increasing.
In addition, thanks to the good international and domestic flight connections, foreigners can easily reach the main regions of the country.
Types of leisure activities in Colombia
If you don’t know where and how to spend your free time, there are alternatives for all tastes and budgets in this country.
These are just some of the entertainment options that Colombia has to offer:
- A calendar with hundreds of events such as concerts and plays every month.
- All kinds of bars and discos with different moods and styles of music.
- Shopping centers with hundreds of shops with the best local and international brands.
- Famous areas with different economic entities.
- Wellness and relaxation areas in specific sectors.
- Cinemas and audiovisual recreation centers.
- Study and express courses in painting, ceramics, cooking and other areas of interest.
Countless destinations in Colombia
It’s no secret that Colombia is a great incentive travel alternative, as there’s a perfect destination for everyone. The country has a magical variety of modern cities, landscapes and amazing places where you can find all kinds of activities that will make your visit an unforgettable experience.
These are some of the options that Colombia offers in terms of general travel destinations:
- Big cities with all kinds of infrastructures.
- International and local hotels with the best options for luxury and relaxation.
- Picturesque historic towns.
- Beaches and small islands.
- Natural areas and nature reserves.
- Haciendas, fincas, and other unique Airbnb options.
- International and commercial areas in major cities.
MICE destinations in Colombia
These are the top MICE destinations in Colombia.
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and is therefore considered the economic and political center of the country.
Located at 2,650 m above sea level in the Eastern Cordillera, it is the capital of the department Cundinamarca and of Colombia. Together with Medellín and Cali, Bogotá forms the Golden Triangle, the most developed region in Colombia, which also receives the most investments.
The ICCA rankings for Latin and North America rank the city 9th in the number of events per city with 53 events in 2019.
Medellín is the capital of the Antioquia department. Located in the central Andes, Medellín is known as the country’s innovation center and has a modern infrastructure.
Thanks to its mild climate, Colombians call it “the city of eternal spring”.
With 34 events in 2019, the ICCA rankings for Latin America and North America ranked the city 18th in terms of the number of events per city.
Find out more on our Medellín page
Cali, or Santiago de Cali, is the capital of the Valle del Cauca department and lies in the valley between the western and central Andes.
In the ICCA rankings for Latin America and North America, the city ranks 98th in the number of meetings per city with 5 meetings in 2019.
Visit our Cali page for more information
Cartagena is the capital of the Bolivar department on the Colombian Caribbean coast.
It is one of the most important Colombian cities for tourism and offers a combination of history and modernity on the Caribbean Sea. The colonial old town and the walled city contrast with the modern districts, which are home to large luxury hotel chains.
The ICCA rankings for Latin and North America rank the city 12th in the number of events per city, with 42 events in 2019.
Visit our Cartagena page for more information
Coffee growing area
This region is the country’s largest coffee producer and has a unique culture.
Located in a valley in the central Andes, the city is the capital of the department of Risaralda .
Pereira has 46 meeting and event venues with a total capacity of 12,500 people and over 2,190 hotel rooms with 3,400 beds.
Visit our Pereira page for more information
Manizales is the largest city in the central Andes region and the capital of the Caldas department. The city is known as the City of Open Doors because of the warmth of its people.
It has 45 conference rooms with a total capacity of more than 9,600 people and 186 accommodation units with 2,800 hotel beds.
Find out more on our Manizales page
Armenia is the capital of the department of Quindío, the smallest in Colombia.
It has a congress center that can accommodate more than 1,500 people and 7 hotels suitable for meetings and events, for a total of around 600 rooms.
Visit our Armenia page for more information
Emerging City: Yopal
Yopal is the capital of the department of Casanare in the Eastern Plains region. This Orinoco River basin region stretches onto Venezuelan soil and is known for its vast plains that offer a unique type of safari.
Although Yopal is more suitable for incentive travel, it is also developing a good infrastructure for business tourism.
Visit our Yopal page for more information