Though still relatively small, Peru’s meetings, incentives, conventions and events (MICE) segment has grown at a stable pace in recent years. According to estimates by the National Chamber of Tourism (Cámara Nacional de Turismo, CANATUR), revenues generated by the segment are expected to reach $300m by end 2014. A series of events scheduled for upcoming years is set to provide a major boost to the segment, not only increasing revenues significantly, but also contributing to establishing Peru, and particularly Lima, as a MICE destination in the region.
In 2013 Peru climbed four spots in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings, from 47th to 43rd place, after attracting a total of 64 meetings that year, up on the 51 of 2012. At the regional level, Peru ranks fifth, behind Brazil, which was ninth in the ICCA figures with 315 events, Argentina (17th with 223), Mexico (25th with 158) and Colombia (28th with 139). While Latin America’s regional share of world events remains modest at 10.5%, it boasts one of the longest duration rates, according to ICCA, with visitors staying an average of nine days compared to a world average of six days.
The vast majority of events in the country in 2013 were held in Lima, which hosted all but 10 of the 64 meetings in the country, landing the capital a spot at 42nd in ICCA’s city rankings. Boasting the best connectivity in the country as well as an expanding MICE infrastructure and hotel offer, Lima is the obvious first MICE choice in the country, complemented by its cultural, gastronomical and architectural offering.
For the first time in 2013 a second Peruvian city entered ICCA’s world rankings, with Arequipa coming in at 74th. Arequipa has been slowly building its reputation as a MICE destination, regularly hosting one of the region’s most important mining conventions, PERUMIN. In October 2014 Arequipa also hosted the World Resources Forum, a four-day event on the impact of global resource use, in its Cerro Juli Convention Centre. The international conference was expected to attract more than 500 representatives from 50 countries around the world and to generate around PEN3m ($1.07m) in revenues for the city.
In light of the events already scheduled for upcoming years, the segment’s growth prospects are high. From December 1-12, 2014 Lima will host the 20th session of the UN Climate Change Conference, where it is hoped a consensus will be reached on a new pact that will eventually replace the Kyoto Protocol. The event will be held at the Cuartel General del Ejercito (military headquarters) and is set to attract more than 15,000 participants. The president of the Council of Ministers, Ana Jara, estimates it could generate up to $45m in revenues. In October 2015 the Annual Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will also take place in Lima, drawing around 12,000 participants from 184 countries. In 2016 Lima will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting. Besides Lima, events are scheduled to take place across six other Peruvians cities; Arequipa, Piura, Trujillo, Iquitos, Tarapoto and Tacna.
Finally, after winning a bid in which it competed against neighbouring cities, Santiago de Chile in Chile, La Punta in Argentina and Ciudad Bolívar in Venezuela, Lima will also host the Pan-American Games from July 26 to August 11, 2019. The event is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors. According to José Carlos Quiñones, president of the Peruvian Olympic Committee and the Organising Committee for the Pan-American Games 2019, Lima has plans to invest between $800m and $1.5bn in infrastructure projects for the event, with concessions for the infrastructure works scheduled to begin in early 2015.
To accommodate demand of the upcoming events, Peru, and Lima in particular, is seeing unprecedented efforts to boost MICE and hospitality infrastructure. At present Lima has the highest supply of conference rooms in the country, with around 55 conference rooms, though only two have a capacity for more than 1000 people, according to Sociedad Hoteles del Perú. Though Lima’s Westin Hotel features one of the largest convention centres in the country, with a 2000-person capacity auditorium, the vast majority of the country’s supply can accommodate only around 200 people.
Lima’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (Buro de Convenciones y Visitantes de Lima, BCVL) has been working with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism on a plan to convert Lima into a main attraction in the region for the MICE segment. A focal point of the plans is construction of a new convention centre, being built next to the Museo de la Nación. With investments of PEN534.8m ($190.9m) the 10, 684-sq-metre convention centre will be the biggest in Peru and will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 people. Its main auditorium alone will be able to house 5000. The building, which includes four basement floors and four floors of auditoriums with 18 rooms, is being built by Brazilian construction firm OAS. The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2015.
According to the BCVL, Lima’s Swissotel is also building a new auditorium with capacity to accommodate 1000 people. Furthermore, development on the approved proposals for three convention centres in the north, south and centre of Lima should begin in early 2015. In Villa El Salvador there are plans to build a new fairground that would extend up to 50 ha and accommodate around 150,000 people. The space could hold some of the country’s largest-scale events, such as Mistura, the Latin American food festival that attracted 387,000 people over a 10-day period in 2014, the Motor Show, Perú Travel Mart or Expo Minas. According to BCVL’s president, Carlos Canales, the project would require investment of $200m and be run as a public-private partnership.
Built in 2009, Arequipa’s Cerro Juli Convention Centre, one of the most important convention centres in the country, has recently undergone significant expansion. Seven pavilions, containing restaurants, coffee shops and four exterior areas were added on 150,000 sq metres. The expansion, representing an investment of PEN10m ($3.57m), was specifically built for the Mining Convention PERUMIN-31 in 2013, which saw 75,000 visitors and generated PEN60m ($21.4m) in revenue for the city, according to the Arequipa’s Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism. PERUMIN-32, scheduled to take place again at the Cerro Juli Convention Centre in 2015, is expected to attract 121,000 people and generate around $240m, according to PERUMIN’s president, Roque Benavides.
On The Rise
According to CANATUR, once its new convention centre is built, Lima will be in a position to host more than 100 events on an annual basis. The agency forecasts that the number of locally held events will rise from 54 in 2013 to more than 100 by 2018 in Lima alone, and revenues are expected to more than double, from $300m in 2014 to $700m.
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