As You Pack Your Bags: Guidance For A Successful IMC In Cartagena

Preparation is key with less than a week before the official kickoff for the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 16th International Marketing Conference and 59th Annual Membership Meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.

The meeting is scheduled to be held Feb. 11-13, 2019, at the Cartagena Hilton, hosting more than 300 members, delegates, Council staff and guests.

The IMC is the annual chance for attendees to meet with all of the Council’s international directors and engage together on the most critical issues facing the U.S. grain trade through Advisory Team meetings and other sessions.

Getting the meeting off on the right foot is important, so here’s a quick rundown of key tips those traveling to Colombia should keep in mind:

Meeting registration fees include all meeting materials; Monday evening’s reception at the hotel for the registrant and a guest; Tuesday’s offsite event; and Monday and Tuesday lunches. There is no lunch provided on Wednesday.

Spouses and guests are encouraged to attend the spouse/guest welcome meetings on Monday morning at no additional charge. Monday and Tuesday lunches are not included for guests.

Breakfast is included in your hotel room rate. The spouse/guest welcome session will take place adjacent to the restaurant, so attendees may bring their breakfasts into the session.

Attendee registration does not include optional tours, which must be signed up for in advance, or the off-site event for spouses and guests. Arrangements for both can be made by calling 202-789-0789.

The Hilton Cartagena is approximately six miles from the Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG). Because there is no shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel, it is best to pre-arrange transportation to and from the hotel. To arrange transportation, click here to book online. If you experience any problems when booking, please contact Rebecca Kane, USGC meeting manager, at

Yes. All travelers to Colombia must have passports valid for at least six months after their return and with two or more blank pages. No visa is required for U.S. citizens.

In Cartagena, the average high temperature for February is 87 degrees, with an average low of 75 degrees. Forecasts call for highs in the 90s and lows in the mid-70s during the meeting.

Business casual attire is appropriate for the meeting and for the offsite on Tuesday evening. Casual attire with comfortable walking shoes should be worn on all tours. The Council recommends bringing sunblock, sunglasses and a hat to enjoy the weather in Cartagena. For the Maria La Baja tour, cotton clothing and closed-toe shoes are necessary.

The official currency in Colombia is the peso. Credit cards are accepted in all major shops, hotels and restaurants in Cartagena. Visitors should be prepared to provide identification to verify a credit card transaction. There is an exchange approximately one-half mile from the hotel. The Council suggests using ATMs to withdraw money, which typically offers a more favorable exchange rate. Remember to contact any banks and credit card companies before traveling.

There are several museums, including the Gold Museum, which preserves the artistry of the Zenu Culture, the Heredia Theater for an art or dance performance and the Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas. For more information on museums, monuments and theater schedules please visit the Cartagena tour information site click here.

For more information on the meeting, please visit this link. Please direct other meeting questions to Rebecca Kane, USGC meeting manager, at