by Meetings and Conventions Asia | November 01, 2019
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MANILA - The Philippines is making a play to corner a significant share of the international MICE market, after its successful hosting of several international meetings and conferences over the years.

In his welcome speech at the recent MICECONnect 2019 in Manila, Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito C. Bengzon Jr of the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced major MICE events that will be held in the country in the coming years, reported the Business Mirror.

The events include the FIABCI (International Real Estate Federation) World Congress in 2020; the International Congress on Sustainable Tourism in Fragile Ecosystems in 2020; the Ecotourism Travel Mart for 2020 and 2021; the International Conference in Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners Conference in 2021; and the Kiwanis International Convention in 2022.

Mr Bengzon noted the Philippines has already proven its expertise in organising and hosting large-scale conferences and meetings, making it an ideal destination for MICE.

For one, the country hosted the Asean Summit in April and November 2017, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November 2015, the Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2012 and 2018.

This was proof, he said, that "we are more than capable to mount large-scale events and conferences. Across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, you will find well-equipped convention centres that are strategically located around the vicinity of international and domestic airports; international chains and local five-star hotels providing convenient service for tourists."

Mr Bengzon noted that these key areas offer not only the best tourism products and services with vast opportunities for business, but also have "consistently growing local economies which have attracted investors to build hotel and meeting facilities".

"Complementing these are existing advantages such as an English-speaking work force, world-class facilities and ease of doing business in the country," he added.

On top of the MICE activities that can be held in the country, visitors can enjoy unique experiences in the Philippines through experiential and immersive activities, Mr Bengzon pointed out.

"These activities may be promoted as part of incentive packages, included in official conference programs of MICE events, or even as part of a bleisure (business and leisure) trip, where delegates may extend their stay to see more of our beautiful country and learn about our culture and our people."

The DOT also aims to increase the total number of usable space for exhibitions to over 170,895sqm by 2030 from 71,000sqm in 2017, and targets an annual 3% rise in MICE arrivals.