Costa Rica’s 28th Annual Expotur Travel Trade Show Gets Ready to Kickoff May 9-11

From May 9 -11, Costa Rica will host its prominent EXPOTUR travel trade show at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Hotel in San Antonio de Belen, Costa Rica. Organized by the Costa Rica Association of Professionals Tourism (ACOPROT), the event will gather more than 300 tourism company representatives from Costa Rica and other Latin American countries to familiarize them with Costa Rica’s various tourism offerings and facilitate new business opportunities. Now in its 28th year, the event will also serve as a promotional platform to showcase the benefits of the country’s MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) segment.

“For nearly three decades, the tourism industry has celebrated and welcomed EXPOTUR, one of the most established trade shows in Costa Rica,” commented Costa Rica Minister of Tourism Allan Flores. “The purpose of EXPOTUR is to not only showcase Costa Rica’s unique travel offerings, but to create and foster business opportunities and strategic alliances that strengthen Costa Rica’s tourism industry,” he continued.

Oranizers share that EXPOTUR 2012 has seen a 40 percent increase in registrations, resulting in 220 companies set to arrive in Costa Rica during the event to negotiate with tour operators, car rental agencies, airlines and hotels to learn how to “sell” Costa Rica around the world and increase visitor numbers. Furthermore, a total of 37 nations will be present during EXPOTUR, an increase of eight countries when compared to participants from 2011.

“ACOPROT, along with the Costa Rica Tourism Board, has been working diligently to secure the participation of major wholesalers and industry leaders who can help us make a difference in promoting Costa Rica as a tourism product,” commented Yadyra Simon, president of ACOPROT.

One of the main focuses of this year’s event will be the promotion of Costa Rica’s National Convention and Exhibition Center, which will allow Costa Rica to gain momentum in the MICE industry, which will increase domestic tourism growth and undoubtedly generate many economic benefits for the country. Congresses, conventions, fairs, exhibitions, festivals, cultural programs and sporting events are causing an unprecedented impact on the international economy, especially in regards to tourism. According to the Association of Professional Congress Organizers and Allied Costa Rica (ADOCA), MICE visitors spend more on average and stay longer in event cities, more so than leisure and pleasure travelers.

In 2006, 24,700 people participated in international events in Costa Rica and 76,500 people for national events, for an estimated total of 101,269 event attendees, an average of 306 people per event. Today, these figures have changed, with international events ranging from 500 – 1,500 participants per event, with these event attendees spending an average of $300 – $600 during their stay.

“August to November is peak season for international events in Costa Rica; however, February and March have also become prime months to host events,” commented Yadyra Simon. “This higher incidence of hosting events during the offseason contributes to the stabilization of our tourism market,” she continued.

Among the key exhibitors participating in EXPOTUR this year are Arnaldo Nardone, president of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA); Bertha Garcia, president of the Federation of Conference Organizers and Allied Latin America (COCAL); and Alisson Batres, president of the Guatemalan Association of Professional Congress Organizers, Conventions and Exhibitions.

In the past five years, EXPOTUR has generated nearly $875 million in revenue, resulting in an average of 70,000 travelers per year. Unlike previous years, EXPOTUR will not be open to the public; however, it will be streamed live.