Brandon First: A PPP case study for MICE

IN our “small” association world, made even smaller by Internet interconnectivity, my article entitled “Association Management and Corporate Management: How do they Diverge?” (see also “Association and Corporate Management” in my April 26, 2017, column) saw publication on June 17 on (AS), a US-based online site and community of association professionals.

AS Director Arianna Rehak e-mailed me to say that Graham Harvey, executive director of Brandon First, sent her a feedback on my article. My first instinct was to find out what Brandon is.

My Google search showed that Brandon is the second-largest city in the province of Manitoba, Canada. Known historically as The Wheat City, Brandon’s economy is predominantly associated with tourism and agriculture but is also strong in education, manufacturing, food processing, health care and transportation. Ms. Graham also informed me that there is a vibrant Filipino community in Manitoba, mostly due to a very successful nursing credentialing program implemented there a few years ago.

Ms. Graham wrote: “While I often [as you know] get enjoyment and insight out of the posts shared, I felt a specific kinship to the distinctions drawn by Octavio Peralta [Bobby] in his article about association vs. corporate management. Having just finished my first annual general meeting [AGM] yesterday in this new, non-profit and stakeholder-based role, I heard echoes of so many of my own experiences in his comments.

“While he speaks from the point of view of a seasoned veteran who has journeyed fully through the transition, I felt his perspective held considerable value in terms of orienting my thinking on the distinctions between the environments, as I try to balance retaining the values and strengths that have served me so well in entrepreneurship and corporate life, while embracing the realities and culture of this brave new world. Mind blowing a bit to realize the commonality present with an association leader half a world away—thank you for making these kinds of connections!”

Graham’s e-mail triggered a series of e-mail exchanges between us which brings me to the subject of this column: public-private partnership or what we call “PPP.”

Graham’s organization, Brandon First, is unique in a sense that it is a nonprofit coalition of the tourism industry, community-minded businesses, government and municipality agencies specifically dedicated to harnessing Brandon’s deep cultural traditions of hospitality and belonging to attract events into their region. As such, Brandon First works very closely with the city’s District Marketing and Economic Development offices. In practice, Brandon First is also the de facto association of the above group which now represents the interests of over 50 stakeholders.

I think this is an interesting case study for local governments in the Philippines to explore developing, in order to help attract MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) to their provinces, cities or towns.

In my column on January 4, 2017, “Associations and Tourism,” I mentioned that the growth potential of MICE tourism in our 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. The example of Brandon First is, indeed, a tourism marketing PPP working at its best!


The column contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) and CEO and  Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE). PCAAE is holding its 6thAssociations Summit on November 23-24, 2018 at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC).

The event is hosted by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and supported by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB). 

PCAAE enjoys the support of ADFIAP, TPB and the Philippine International Convention Center.

E-mail: [email protected]

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