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South America: A preferred MICE destination

Alejandra Salazar, account executive of Tourism Investment Projects, Quito Tourism Board, shares why Latin American nations are a growing overseas destination for the exhibition industry.

Itchimbia Park and Cultural Center
The all-glass construction of Itchimbia Park and Cultural Center serves as Quito’s scenic events center.

How would you describe the South American exhibition industry?

Latin America is currently one of the preferred international MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) destinations. Recent World Tourism Organization figures report an above world average increase in the number of tourist arrivals to Latin America. Business travelers from Europe and North America, who have big spending power, are seeking new and authentic destinations for their next MICE events.

According to a MICE market study performed by New York City-based Mercer Group, the most sought out destinations for MICE events are located in South America followed by Eastern European countries.

How many exhibitions are held in major cities in a year?

As of 2011: Brazil, 304; Argentina, 186; Colombia, 113; Chile, 87; Peru, 55; Uruguay, 46; Paraguay, 34; and Ecuador, 30.

Are there countries in South America that could be seen as the gateway into its exhibition industry?

Because of their tourism infrastructure and ambitious promotional campaigns, I consider Brazil, Argentina and Colombia as gateway destinations for the exhibition industry in South America.

Which countries account for the most exhibitions?

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Chile account for the most exhibitions.

What opportunities are available for international exhibition companies?

Quito logoDue to its strategic location, Quito receives 80 percent of the international arrivals to Ecuador. In February 2013, Quito inaugurated the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, which currently services 60 percent of the international flight frequencies that arrive in Ecuador. Additionally, Quito’s airport offers direct flights to major international hubs. Quito is also improving its local connectivity with a series of highway improvements that include 14 different projects throughout the city.

A few of Quito’s venues are: Eugenio Espejo Convention Center, CEMEXPO, Centro de Exposiciones Quito, QUITUMBE, Quorum San Francisco, Itchimbía Cultural Center and others.

What opportunities are available for exhibitors and attendees?

During 2012, there were 98 international events held in Quito. To date, there have been a total of 58 international events organized in Quito this year. Looking to the future, we currently have six international events confirmed for 2014.

Based on Quito’s tourism offers, infrastructure and new city projects, which include a new convention center, hotel additions, a subway and a new international airport, we project a healthy growth in the number of events organized in Quito.

What type of labor is provided to help with show set-up?

The Bicentenario Convention Center (in Quito) has staff members dedicated to offering assistance before, during and after organizing an event. There is also a staff member with expertise in electronics and logistics.

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