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September 2012

Close Up: Bogota

by Mark Chesnut

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It may have a historic heart, but Bogota’s sights are set clearly on the future.

With a slew of international hotel brands debuting and a revamped airport and new convention center in the works, Colombia’s capital has been added to more planner calendars than ever before.

In recent years, Bogota has experienced a remarkable social and urban transformation that endowed it with one of the best infrastructures on the continent, according to Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Proexport Colombia, which promotes tourism, exports and investment.

Meanwhile, Bogota is one of the cities that has gone up the most in ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) rankings, according to Vilma Campos, director of sales and marketing at the Hilton Bogota, one of the city’s newest luxury hotels.

“In 2011, it ranked sixth among Latin American cities,” Campos says.

There was a time, of course, when travelers avoided places like Bogota. But greatly improved safety and a stable economy have transformed this sophisticated metropolis.

Hotel projects grew by 25 percent between 2009 and 2012 as hoteliers scramble to keep up with demand for meetings-friendly international brands. More than 12,600 hotel rooms dot the cityscape, with more on the way. Among the newest names on the scene are Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Ibis, Radisson, JW Marriott, Aloft, Wyndham, NH Hotels and Melia. Slated to open in 2014 is the W Bogota.

Eldorado International Airport, meanwhile, will finish a massive expansion by 2014.

This year, the Spanish-Colombian firm Bermudez y Herreros Architects was chosen to design the Bogota International Convention Center, a project headed by the Bogota Chamber of Commerce and Corferias, which operates a 15-acre fairground. The center will offer more than 250,000 square feet of function space and a 3,500-seat auditorium.

CVB Contact

Bogota Convention Bureau

The new venue will be key to the city’s success as a meetings destination, according to Alexandra Torres, executive director of the Bogota Convention Bureau.

“With this new city icon, we can continue climbing ranks as a favorite destination in the world market for trade fairs, congresses and conventions of international stature,” she says.


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