This year our Latin America Meeting and Incentive Travel Exchange (LAMITE) event spotlighted Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region. The event was held by Questex, which also owns Meeting Spotlight, and it brought together meeting planners and incentive buyers with global suppliers in prescheduled one-to-one appointments, took place at the new Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica back in June. After the event, we caught up with Rafael Quesada, Chief of Research and Evaluation at the Costa Rica Tourism Board, for more on Costa Rica’s MICE scene.
What’s new? “Two major ‘MICE-ready’ properties have recently opened in the Guanacaste,” Quesada tells Meeting Spotlight. “The W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal and Planet Hollywood Costa Rica.”
The new Planet Hollywood property is the first Planet Hollywood-branded all-inclusive resort; a second is planned for Cancun. The newbuild, 294-suite resort has plenty of the brand’s signature Hollywood memorabilia, as well as a number of high-tech touches, including interactive touchscreen displays narrating the memorabilia and PHTV in-suite and throughout the resort, which keep guests up to date with live streams of events and activities. Other design elements aim to pay tribute to the resort’s natural surroundings, incorporating locally sourced materials.
The new W hotel has over 10,000 square feet of meeting space in The Escape, a venue with elements designed to appeal to both corporate conferences and incentive groups. Colleagues visiting Costa Rica get a special rate when planners book a block of 10 or more rooms.
In addition to the new venues, Quesada says sustainable meetings are the biggest trend to watch in Costa Rica and beyond this year. That dovetails with the country’s recently announced National Decarbonizatoin Plan, which aims to make Costa Rica carbon-free by 2050.
“It is a proposal that has been accepted and embraced by Costa Rica’s MICE market, as the National Decarbonization Plan reinforces the message that we have always communicated as a destination,” Quesada says.
The plan calls for the country’s power grid to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, with a gradual phase-out of fossil fuels in the public transport system.
“Personally, I seek high quality service with differentiating factors as a country that allow us to leave a mark on each and every one of the participants involved,” Quesada says.