MICECon 2021 lands P27M-worth of events

Foreign buyers take a tour of MICE facilities in several cities in the metro before the start of the MICECON nect 2019. In this photo, a representative of SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. shows off the features of the SMX Convention Center at SM Aura. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

THE Philippines is gearing up to be an important meetings and conventions site in Asia, with government now allowing larger business gatherings and events as Covid-19 infections wane.

MICEConnect 2021 (MICECon), held from November 13 to 15, also positioned Boracay Island as a premium leisure and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) destination.

In a news statement, Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Officer Ma. Anthonette C. Velasco-Allones said, “Two events were contracted, generating an estimated P27 million in revenue, while participants will be following up on leads for nine MICE events slated for December and in 2022.”

MICECon was staged by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its marketing arm, the TPB, in partnership with the newly formed Boracay MICE Alliance, gathering 52 online sellers of MICE products and services at the Crimson Resort and Spa. Among the participants were representatives of meeting facilities, hotels and resorts, tour and transport operators, event management companies, and destination management companies.

Velasco-Allones added, “There were 48 registered buyers who came from both private and public sectors as local and international MICE planners and organizers. Twenty-three of them were onsite; they also  joined the two-day inspection of properties and venues  being considered for future MICE events.”

She assured that health and safety protocols were strictly implemented including physical distancing measures to safeguard the delegates. Onsite participants were also provided with antigen tests and health and safety kits.

For her part, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said, “MICEConnect 2021 is a major step forward in bringing more people in the industry together, whether you’re interacting face-to-face or virtually. We hope that we’ve provided a good platform for all participants to expand their network, discuss golden business opportunities, create new partnerships, or cement old ones.”

She added, MICECon “reflects the growing confidence in Boracay’s capability to host incentive travel and small- to medium-sized conferences and other corporate events.” The Megaworld group will soon be opening a convention site at its Newcoast properties, supported by 1,500 rooms in its three hotels onsite.

Asked about the importance of this year’s MICECon, Ian Laroda of Travel Warehouse Inc. said, “[It] really paved the way to connect the businesses and the communities. It became a way of giving back to our tourism workers because they also benefit from business gains. I am very happy to have experienced this in MICEConnect Boracay.”

Serafin Javelona of Southwest Tours Boracay, the premier land-based tourism transport company on the island, said, “Apart from renewed opportunities, MICEConnect gave us hope. As a MICE seller based in Boracay, our livelihoods were greatly affected by the pandemic. Through MICEConnect, I realized that now is the time to bounce back and increase tourists’ confidence to travel and do business once again.”

The DOT and TPB are currently recalibrating the MICE Roadmap 2030, after the Covid-19 pandemic messed up with its targets. The roadmap was first launched in 2018, with the aim of increasing the Philippines’ desirability as a premier MICE destination in Asia. This can be achieved by providing enabling policies and institutional support, accelerating infrastructure improvements, developing a highly competitive human resource, and strengthening research and development.

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