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CWT Meetings & Events Research: Sao Paulo to defend top spot for Latin America corporate meetings and events in 2019

September 19, 2018

CWT Meetings & Events, a division of global travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), today unveiled its predictions for the top ten Latin American cities. The ranking is based on proprietary and industry data in CWT’s 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report, to be published next week.

2019 forecast for top ten Latin America meetings and events cities (2018/17 positions in brackets):

  1. Sao Paulo, Brazil (1 /1)
  2. Mexico City, Mexico (4/3)
  3. Bogota, Colombia (2/4)
  4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (3/2)
  5. Ocho Rios, Jamaica (-/-)
  6. Lima, Peru (10/-)
  7. Nassau, Bahamas (-/-)
  8. Cali, Colombia (-/-)
  9. Curitiba, Brazil (-/-)
  10. Medellin, Colombia (7/-)

Next year’s rankings feature four new entries: Jamaica’s Ocho Rios (5), Nassau in the Bahamas (7), Colombia’s Cali (8) and Curitiba in Brazil (9). Many of the cities that dropped off the list for next year were new entrants in 2018 – Atibaia in Brazil (5), Colombia’s Cartagena (6), and Merida in Mexico (8).The capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, has declined as a top meeting location from 2018, when it was in ninth place and 2017, when it was fifth. It did not place in the top ten cities predicted for 2019.

In Latin America, cost per attendee per day is predicted to increase by 3% in 2019, to an average of US$232. Meanwhile, average 2019 group size is forecasted to fall to 54, a 5% decline from 2018.

“While Brazil is now moving out of a difficult economic situation, clients had to change the way they operate,” said Gustavo Elbaum, Latin America Director, CWT Meetings & Events. “Customers are doing more events now, but they are taking better care of their budget and there is a much sharper focus on results.”

While there are always challenges across this vast region, there are signs that improving economic conditions are increasing demand for meetings, economic growth is still expected to be relatively slow next year, coming in at 2.3%, according to the World Bank. CWT Meetings & Events’ research predicts hotel prices will fall by 1.3% in 2019, while air prices will drop by 2%.

Colombia is expected to continue to be a stable market in 2019 with growth in meetings demand, helped by more inward investment by international companies, new hotels and new airline routes. The capital Bogota has remained near the top of the destinations list over the last three years.

There has been no drop-off in meetings demand in Mexico following the election of López Obrador in July. There are worries over how the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the US and Canada might affect the Mexican economy.

Other countries in the region, such as Peru and Chile, continue to see stable meetings demand. Both countries are heavily reliant on the mining sector.

In Latin America, organizations tend to travel within their own country when it comes to meetings and events due to budget limitations. This is particularly true in Brazil and Argentina. Clients in Colombia and Mexico tend to travel more frequently around the region.

Brazil has seen the largest growth in hotel development in recent years, particularly in the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup football tournament and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But the recession has led to major global hotel brands dropping some properties. Local companies have stepped in to take their place. Some older five-star hotels have also cut some services to drop down to four-star level so they can compete for meetings business in the heavily regulated pharma sector.

Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro’s reputation as a meetings destination has suffered following an increase in violent crime in the city since the Olympics two years ago. However, Rio is still a popular option, ranking number four in the region’s top destinations.

CWT Meetings & Events

CWT Meetings & Events delivers 38,500 innovative, high-quality projects for customers every year – across all industry sectors, globally. Our creative know-how helps us deliver awe-inspiring events, and our logistics expertise guarantees professional meeting services, group travel, and compliance. We manage your strategic meetings management programs with one aim in mind – to maximize your return on investment.

CWT Meetings & Events is Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s meeting and events division.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Companies and governments rely on us to keep their people connected. We provide their travelers with a consumer-grade travel experience, combining innovative technology with our vast experience. Every day, we look after enough travelers to fill more than 260 Boeing 787s and 100,000 hotel rooms - and handle 105 events. We operate in around 150 countries, and in 2017 posted a total transaction volume of more than US$ 23 billion.