In order to continue promoting Colombia as an international event destination and increase thecountry's competitiveness within the business events industry, ProColombia appointed 19 business owners and leaders from various sectors and disciplines as ambassadors in an effort to draw world-class meetings to Colombia.

"This initiative is part of ProColombia's strategy to boost Colombia’s meetings industry. Therebare many Colombian leaders who value our regions’ competitive characteristics—which make for world-class meetings—and can share them with those in their respective fields. Colombia has been preparing and adapting for months in order to provide integral experiences applying always strict biosafety measures. We are hoping that these new ambassadors will share messages of reassurance that reach all corners of the world," explained Flavia Santoro,

president of ProColombia.

The ambassadors were discovered from the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) Big Data system. Hailing from different disciplines, these Colombians seat on international associations’ boards of directors and can thus influence decision-making in theirrespective fields.

Among them is Pablo Largacha, vice president of Business Planning & Integration - PublicAffairs, Communications, & Sustainability at Coca-Cola, who explains, "I joined the Meetings Industry Ambassadors program as a way to support ProColombia’s excellent work from our workplaces abroad. As Ambassadors, we can each do our part by sharing Colombia’s ideal conditions for hosting meetings and major events and promoting them among our network of contacts. These advantages include air transportation, hotel, and telecommunications infrastructure, along with a talented workforce and access to leisure activities—all at a competitive cost."

One participant in the new program, Lina Triana—president of the Colombian Association of Scientific Societies—stated, "By creating a strategic alliance with ProColombia, we are building a future for our colleagues, health professionals, and our patients…we are promoting tourism and conventions by showcasing our logistical capacity and that of our regions."

This program’s objective is to train these ambassadors with relevant information about Colombia as a destination for the meetings industry. The first meeting was held on April 8 to provide the ambassadors with information and reports on what Colombia has to offer.

Another purpose is to explore the congresses focused on each of the ambassadors' specialties in order to review applications, bidding procedures, and candidacies, as well as attract more ambassadors to the program by showing them Colombia's competitive advantages for international events.

Why hold an international event in Colombia?

Colombia’s meetings industry has been preparing for events for months. For example, several venues across the country have acquired the "Certified Check-In, COVID-19 Biosafe" seal from the Colombian government. This certification’s main objectives are to build trust, minimize the risks of viral infection, and encourage tourism in Colombia.

The aforementioned venues include Agora and Corferias in Bogotá; Puerta de Oro in Barranquilla; Estelar Santa Mar Hotel and Convention Center in Santa Marta; Las Américas Hotel and Convention Center and Cartagena de Indias Convention Center; and Plaza Mayor in Medellín.

Colombia boasts 27 convention centers and 455 business events typehotels not to mention more than a hundred non-traditional venues (museums, gardens, squares, etc.). All of them are equipped with digital capabilities as well as practical, engaging, and avant-garde designs.

Additionally, Colombia offers a wide range and versatility of destinations and alternatives for holding meetings that align with the host communities’ niche, specialized infrastructure, and the objectives of the association / corporation.

Furthermore, Colombia's future outlook, stability, and economic openness make it attractive for corporate meetings and trade fairs. Finally, high-quality service and Colombians’ traditional hospitality make Colombia the most welcoming country in the world and a place that receives both events and participants with open arms.

The ambassadors

In addition to Lina Triana and Pablo Largacha, other ambassadors include Claudia Sánchez, executive secretary of the Federation of Ibero-American Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Associations (FAIAR); Alejandro Acosta, microbiologist and professor at the Universidad de la Sabana; Diego Andrés Bernal, secretary of the Ibero-American Network for the Assessment and Management of Heritage Cemeteries; Alfredo Reyes Rojas, president of the Colombian Society

of Architects; Carlos Humberto Montoya, president of the Ibero-American Association of Private Law.

Also included are Alejandro Guzmán, director of interconnection for America, Australia, and the Pacific at Google; Germán Pardo, president of the Colombian Society of Engineers; Enrique Osorio, president of the Colombian Neurosurgery Association; María Mercedes Zambrano, scientific director of CorpoGen; Fabio Eslava, president of the Colombian Psychoanalytic Society; Manuel Mosquera, president of the Latin American Society of Arthroscopy, Knee, and Sports Medicine; and Jaime Alberto Cabal, president of FENALCO.