Filipino entrepreneurs, Asian peers join PHL-Vietnam trade show

TIMELY to the reopening of the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry amid the easing of pandemic restrictions in the country, local entrepreneurs and their counterparts from Vietnam and some parts of Asia recently showcased their beauty, fashion and food products in the Philippine-Vietnamese Fair that was held at The Plaza of Newport World Resorts in Parañaque City from July 29 to 31. 

ArtisteSpace Inc. Managing Director Anton Magpantay bared that they have reached the three-day event’s estimated total economic value of P3 million.

“[The] MICE [sector] is slowly picking up. This is a good start,” he told the BusinessMirror during the opening day. “It’s a good economic driver because they’re providing employment also [like for Filipino translators hired by Vietnamese exhibitors]. That’s what MICE does.”

The event was graced by 14 Filipino exhibitors and their 14 Vietnamese counterparts, showcasing their food, fashion and lifestyle products, respectively. Other foreign delegations—one representative from India, South Korea and Japan—also joined the fair to add variety to the offerings.

Next to Korean and Japanese, he cited that Vietnamese food and beauty products are gaining ground in the domestic market.

“That’s why you see a lot of pho, a lot of banh mi sandwiches in the last five or 10 years. If you notice, [there’s a] significant increase of Vietnamese restaurant and even coffee shops [in the country at present],” Magpantay noted.

“Beauty and fashion-wise, I think they’re introducing new beauty products from Vietnam,” he said, while pointing out that Vietnamese women are known worldwide for having good skin. “And you know, for a fact, that Filipinos would always want to be fair in complexion. So that’s the potential that we see.”

Initially testing the market after the government’s relaxation of the lockdowns and other health restrictions, the top executive was surprised by the daily traffic of at least 1,000 exhibit goers, mostly venue visitors as well as office workers and condo residents within the resort complex. 

With the massive turnout, some of the exhibitors actually already sold out during the opening, especially the ones coming from Vietnam, per Magpantay. He said: “They were kind of surprised with the demand.”

Apart from sampling and buying the food and lifestyle products, visitors also had the chance to marvel at the colorful display of traditional Vietnamese and Philippine-made gowns and dresses from the Designer Circle Philippines with businesswomen from the Asia-Pacific 2022 during the culminating fashion show. 

Part of the proceeds of the event will be donated to ASPROFIL-Philippines, a Filipino-Spanish nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to promote sustainable development and social welfare of the Filipino communities.

“We are privileged to partner with groups who also value tradition and culture. Following this event will be another fair in Vietnam to be hosted by our partner, The Bliss Mimosa Beauty Corp., Ltd.,” he said.

Magpantay expects the impressive turnout here to be the same for their upcoming trade event there in October given the improved trade relations between the two countries.

“We have high hopes that this strategic partnership will strengthen our ties and will bring more exchange of culture and products with Vietnam,” he said. “I think there’s a market [for us there] because even Filipino soap operas are being watched in Vietnam. [So there’s already an] affinity [between the] Vietnamese and Filipinos.”

The Philippine-Vietnamese Fair will become an annual event, he revealed, as they plan to expand it to other regions in the country, such as Cebu and Davao.

“They can bring more product categories, not only limited to fashion, food and beauty, [but] maybe they can bring in other product categories like machinery, equipment and, perhaps, brands in Vietnam that could be looking for franchise owners here in the country because there are many small and medium enterprises and, hopefully, we can generate business, especially if they get  [Filipino] distributors,” Magpantay said.

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