THE country’s tourism stakeholders, along with key government agencies, aim to enhance the Philippines’s desirability as a destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).
The Department of Tourism (DOT) led colleagues in government and industry stakeholders last Thursday, in unveiling the MICE Roadmap 2030, which was drawn up by the government agency and its marketing arm, the Tourism Promotions Board, in partnership with the Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers Inc. (Paceos) and the Board of Investments (BOI).
In her keynote address at the road map’s launch at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo revealed the goal of the MICE Roadmap 2030 was to put the country among the top 10 destinations of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). “By taking the lead in the development of the Philippines’s MICE road map, we place ourselves within striking distance of our 2018 target for international tourist arrivals.” This year’s target for foreign visitor arrivals stands at 7.4 million, up from 6.5 million in 2016.
Under the road map, the country targets to increase the gross value added (GVA) of the MICE industry to P1.4 billion in 2030 from P415.3 million in 2013; raise the GVA of MICE to 0.01 percent of the GDP from 0.04 percent in 2013; improve the delegate expenditure per meeting to 19 percent by 2030, from 5.4 percent in 2016; and hike the MICE revenues to some P25 billion by 2030 from P4.6 billion in 2016.
The tourism industry also aims to increase the total number of usable space for exhibitions to over 170,895 square meters (sq m) by 2030 from some 71,000 sq m in 2017, and an annual 3-percent rise in MICE arrivals, although the plan failed to give a baseline number of arrivals in 2016.
“We continue to recognize MICE as a high-impact and high-value added sector. This is why MICE is once again identified by the National Tourism Development Plan as one of the country’s nine tourism products,” Teo said.
She pointed out that the country’s successful hosting of events, such as the Madrid Fusion Manila, the Eight United Nations World Tourism Organization Congress on Tourism Statistics, the World Street Food Congress, Miss Universe beauty pageant, the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forums and last year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings “proves that we are on the right track, and we should continue to strike while the iron is hot.”
In the 2016 ICCA statistical report on country and city rankings, the Philippines placed 48th out of the 116 countries worldwide and 14th of 35 countries in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions in terms of having the most number of meetings.
“The Philippines ranked eighth worldwide and first in the Asian region in the annual listing of leading world convention destinations in 1982. With this road map, we can reclaim our rightful place as a MICE powerhouse,” Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr said.
In her welcome remarks, BOI Executive Director for Industry Development Services Maria Corazon Halili-Dichosa noted that MICE was included in the Department of Trade and Industry’s Investment Priorities Plan for 2017.
Describing it as a form of corporate tourism, she added MICE “is a big revenue earner and contributes a major share to the country’s tourism hospitality industry…. It is among the drivers for hotel demand.” MICE also boosts downstream industries, giving businesses to local furniture makers, agribusiness and fisheries, food and beverage and retail ,especially souvenir shops.
Teo, meanwhile, assured Paceos that the government fully supported its efforts to bring back the Philippines’s luster as an international event venue. The country was the first in Southeast Asia to host the International Monetary Fund annual meeting in 1976, which was the reason the PICC was constructed.
“Since the cooperation between the private sector and the government is very, very good, especially in crafting the road map, I’m very positive that we can reach our goals for the industry.
Launching the MICE Roadmap 2030 is the signal that we are looking at the direction for the MICE industry,” Paceos President Jing Lagandaon said.
Among the key strategies of the MICE Roadmap 2030 is to provide enabling policies and institutional support, accelerate infrastructure improvements, develop a highly competitive human resource and strengthen research and development. According to the AMR International’s Globex 2017 Report, the Philippines is the fastest-growing trade fair market in Asia in 2016, where space sold jumped by 9.6 percent and a MICE delegate spends nearly six times more than what an average leisure tourist spends.