Ground Breaks on New Convention Center in Quito, Ecuador

Thanks to burgeoning development in countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, South America is a rising star among international meeting destinations. The latest evidence: Ecuador, where work commenced a few weeks ago on a new convention center in Quito that will dramatically increase the ability of its capital city to host meetings and events.

According to Quito Turismo, Quito's destination marketing organization, the average capacity for events in Quito currently is 300 people per event. The city's new "Metropolitan Convention Center," it reported, will be able to host up to 12,000 people.

"Quito's Metropolitan Convention Center [is] an ambitious and strategic project in the heart of the capital's Bicentennial Park that will boost the city's offering as a leading destination for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions at a regional and global level," Quito Turismo said in a statement.

The design for the Metropolitan Convention Center underwent multiple revisions -- adding extra conference rooms, expanded meeting spaces, more service areas and escalators, and the possibility of a larger lobby space -- to bring it in line with global standards, as set by IACC and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). The final plans call for 28,000 square meters of meeting spaces, ballrooms for private and large events, hotel and office buildings, recreational spaces, and an onsite arena.

Scheduled for completion in the second half of 2018, the project's first phase will total 16,443 square meters and include two lobbies, two 2,500-square-meter exhibition spaces with capacity of more than 4,000 people each, a multifunctional auditorium for up to 800 people, a 2,502-square-meter event space for groups of up to 4,000, and several miscellaneous workspaces.

Concluded Quito Turismo, "This massive project is set to become an important part of the Quito landscape and an asset for the city as it strives to become a leading destination for meetings and conventions."

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