Costa Rica Will Be the World Capital of Long Distance Education

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    Costa Rica returns to the international stage at the highest level by being chosen as the venue for the 29th ICDE World Conference 2023, which will take place from November 6th to 10th next year. It is the most important academic event in the world in relation to flexible, open, and distance education.

    The announcement of the arrival of this world event in the country was made by the Minister of Tourism, William Rodríguez at a press conference, who was accompanied by the Minister of Education, Katharina Müller; Álvaro Rojas, vice president of the Costa Rica Convention Bureau and the rector of the State Distance University (UNED), Rodrigo Árias Camacho.

    At the World Congress of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), approximately 800 experts in distance education from different parts of the world are expected to visit the country,who will stay in 3 to 5-star hotels and generate contracts with more than 50 chains. Additionally, Europeans and from other parts of the planet will extend their stays and carry out post tours.

    The event will represent an economic benefit of more than US$2,000,000, counting the direct and indirect impact on tourism, and an additional US$23,200 in taxes on entering the country. “It is a source of pride to have won the candidacy for the ICDE world congress; It is undoubtedly the result of the growing position of Costa Rica as a destination for meeting tourism attended by top-level professionals, with an economic benefit that will contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector and to reach the figures of 2019 in the year 2023”, said the Minister of Tourism.

    MICE tourism achieves a chain by event of more than 40 providers, such as professional organizer of congresses (OPC), Destination Management Company (DMC’s), decoration rental, lighting, audiovisuals, transportation service, restaurants, entertainment professionals, artisans stores, florist, tours, among others. 65% of companies are SMEs.

    The vice president of the Costa Rica Convention Bureau, Álvaro Rojas, said that the news has a direct impact because it generates knowledge transfer to the country and causes an economic spillover in different areas of tourism. “In addition, it is a confirmation that the world is seeing Costa Rica as one of the most competitive destinations in meeting tourism in the region, positioning itself as one of the emerging markets for international congresses and conventions with the dynamism of its supply chain value and great leadership of its public-private actors”.


    Global open and flexible distance education event

    After a global candidacy process for Costa Rica to host, UNED was chosen as the organizing institution for the 29th version of the 2023 World Conference, with the motto “Holding Hands in Peace for the Futures of Education”.

    “We are at the gates of one of the most important academic events in the world in distance education, online or open, which demonstrates the solid image and consolidated prestige that Costa Rica projects in the distance education model, led by the UNED for 45 years, and in the potential that it exposes as a democratic and inclusive tourist destination. We are extremely pleased to provide, as the host institution, a space for analysis, reflection and discussion of national, regional and global initiatives aimed at continuous improvement towards quality, permanent innovation and the inclusion of all populations in the distance educational systems in the world”, expressed the rector of the UNED, Rodrigo Arias.

    It will be the first time that this event is organized by an institution in Central America and the Caribbean and only the third time that it has been held in Latin America, after the 1990 editions in Caracas and Rio de Janeiro in 2006. It will be the first time. In addition, the organization of the event places an entire country as the venue instead of a city, highlighting the achievements and international prestige of Costa Rica in education, peace, sustainability, social development, justice and openness to the world. The first ICDE World Conference was held in 1938, in British Columbia, Canada.

    The ICDE World Conference, as it is known worldwide, is a biennial meeting that brings together the international research community, teaching and academic staff, and students in open, flexible, and distance education systems. In addition, it is attended by policy makers, decision makers from the public sector, the relevant national and international professional associations, and providers of technology and educational services from the private sector.

    This event will be held at the Costa Rica Convention Center and will be operated by the company Tam Travel Corporation, a company chosen after the proper contracting process. The objective is to offer a forum for the presentation of cutting-edge developments in education, to directly impact and contribute to future international and regional discussions on educational policies.

    UNED has been recognized for its leadership for more than 4 decades in distance education in Latin America and for its contributions to democratization and universal access to higher education in Costa Rica. It is the second public university in the country with the largest student population, with an average annual enrollment in the last 6 years of more than 35,000 students, and the first university in terms of national coverage and presence in the territories, with 38 university campuses throughout the country. Its choice as the hosting university of the ICDE World Conference 2023 is a recognition of its national and regional leadership. Our country also stands out for its air connections, a strategic location, unforgettable experiences, quality of service, the high quality of specialized professionals, the excellent tourist platform, the infrastructure for holding events, as well as for the high level of education, the diversity of activities that can be carried out in the destination and sustainability, as a transversal axis of the tourism development model.

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