Associations and tourism: Redux

I am bringing back (hence the word, redux) but updating my January 4, 2017, column as my organization, the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), recently forged a collaboration with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) to further boost MICE tourism in the Philippines. MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conferences and events.

The PCAAE is the country’s “association of associations.” We signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Tourism’s marketing arm mandated to promote the country as a major MICE destination in Asia. Associations organize MICE, and this is why they have been contributing to the economy, and the trend is going to continue in the coming years, according to reports.

With a high value-added component, MICE has spawned, among others, infrastructure and enterprise development. It has also created jobs, established small and medium enterprise linkages, and boosted the tax revenues of the government. Therefore, the role of associations in tourism cannot be discounted.

According to the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) Statistic Report 2015, the world association market covers a wide range of meeting types and categories, such as medical meetings (the largest segment), scientific, academic, trade organizations, professional bodies and other social groupings.


The ICCA association database now includes 20,000 regular meeting series, 220,000 meeting editions and 11,500 international associations. These numbers confirm the consistent growth in the association meetings market, as identified in ICCA’s 50-year report.

In the Philippines, the TPB said the contribution of MICE to the national tourism industry is about 15 percent. In 2016 there were around 200 MICE events that the TPB booked, with the Philippines ranking sixth in the Asean with the most number of MICE events.

The TPB realized early on the value of MICE in tourism promotion and foresaw this trend worldwide, particularly in relation with associations. It was logical for the TPB leadership to help in the founding of the PCAAE in November 2013.

Since its inception, the PCAAE has helped advance the association management profession and believes that, by further professionalizing association governance and management, associations and other membership organizations will have the confidence and skill set to undertake more MICE events locally, as well as attract international conferences to the country.

The PCAAE counts among its members 240 associations, professional societies, chambers, foundations and other member-serving organizations (cooperatives, LGU associations, student councils, etc.), which has a reach of 5 million individual members that can potentially grow the MICE industry.

The growth potential of MICE tourism in the country is enormous. What is needed now is for all tourism stakeholders (government, the business sector  and associations) to join hands to pursue this opportunity. This is the very essence of the TPB-PCAAE partnership.


Octavio “Bobby” Peralta is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) and CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives. PCAAE enjoys the support of ADFIAP, the Tourism Promotions Board, and the Philippine International
Convention Center.

E-mail: [email protected].


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