BOGOTA – Medellin is the Western Hemisphere city that saw the largest growth in event tourism between 2007 and 2016, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) said in a report released Monday.
Colombia’s second city, which is also the capital of the northwestern province of Antioquia, boosted the number of gatherings hosted by 320 percent, from a dozen in 2007 to more than 40 last year.
The other cities in the Americas that experienced notable growth in event tourism during the period were Lima, up 145 percent; and Panama City, gaining 132 percent, according to the ICCA report, which was distributed by the Medellin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Event tourism is precisely one of the big wagers the city has maintained in recent years and we see the results today,” Mayor Federico Gutierrez said in a statement.
He stressed that Medellin has achieved greater growth in event tourism than locations that have beaches as a lure, such as Cartagena and Cancun.
Medellin, with one of Colombia’s most dynamic economies, is ranked 56th among 525 global cities on ICCA’s list of convention destinations.
The Colombian city has moved up 23 places on the list over the last four years.
As a country, Colombia stands 29th worldwide, with 147 events in 2016.
“Convention tourism is one of the segments that generates the most spending, with $450 daily per traveler, which is six times more than an average tourist,” said Felipe Jaramillo, head of investment and tourism promotion agency ProColombia.