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January 14, 2015

Bogota, Colombia, Joins BestCities Global Alliance

As PCMA's Convening Leaders conference kicked off in Chicago, The BestCities Global Alliance announced that it had accepted its first South American partner: Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia.

As a meetings destination, the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau says that the city ranks well against "all alliance criteria," including accessibility, front line service, pre- and post-touring options, infrastructure quality, future investment and value.  

“In order to apply for membership into the Alliance, a city must already be recognized as a Destination Marketing Organization with bureau functionalities, or be one that is officially recognized as a future bureau,” BestCities Board Chair Karen Bolinger said in a statement. “Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau impressed us greatly with their enthusiasm and readiness to take on Preliminary Membership so soon after their expression of interest. They have also demonstrated a strong commitment and a willingness to embrace the BestCities Quality Management System in order to further improve their internal processes.”

Bogotá’s confirmation as BestCities’ newest partner follows Tokyo’s admission last year as the alliance’s Regional Affiliate Member and first from North East Asia. “The inclusion of a South American partner is important not only for our geographical growth but equally for our strategic expansion," Bollinger said. "This important foothold into another emerging market will enable us to tap into new clients and provide our alliance partners with important business and learning opportunities."

Last year, The GBCB started winning major business with seven international meetings booked and six more in progress. Bogotá is currently ranked #34 in the ICCA world rankings, and when the new Bogota International Convention Center “Agora Bogotá” opens in 2016 with the capacity to hold 3,700 delegates, the city seems likely to rise again. 

The city also has 17,000 three-, four- and five-star hotel rooms, and is planning to put more hotels closer to the convention center.

Bogotá is responsible for 52 percent of the tourism that arrive to Colombia; home to 1,423 multinational companies; public institutions and the National Government.  

“In the last 20 years, [Latin America] has experienced a growth rate in the meetings industry that exceeds the international average, becoming very attractive and with many expansion opportunities,” Sandra Garcia Giraldo, executive director of the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau, said in a statement. “Economic growth in Latin America has been constant during the last five to seven years, however the only two countries projected to grow above GINI’s* coefficient, are Chile and Colombia: where Bogotá is responsible for 25 percent of the GNP. Reducing poverty means a growth of a stronger middle class which translates into a new purchasing power with needs of formation and accessing knowledge, networking and technology, all of which are offered by this industry.” 

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