The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, the marketing and promotions arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT), recently concluded MICECONnect 2019, a buyers invitational and business exchange program that showcases the Philippines as a premium destination for international events and conferences.

Held simultaneously with the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) 2019, the biggest travel trade event in the country, MICECONnect 2019 is part of a two-year program that aims to accelerate the Philippine MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, Exhibitions/Events) industry.

The two-day event featured business-to-business (B2B) sessions for Philippine MICE stakeholders and foreign MICE organizers and buyers as well as MICE venue inspections.

The venues visited by the delegates included Conrad Manila, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Makati Shangri-La, Shangri-La at the Fort, Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Makati Diamond Residences, Diamond Hotel Philippines, New World Makati Hotel, Grand Hyatt Manila, The Bellevue Manila and event centers such as SMX Convention Center Manila, Mall of Asia Arena, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and World Trade Center Metro Manila.

“MICECONnect was mounted as a support for stakeholders in the travel trade industry,” said TPB Chief Operating Officer Marie Venus Tan. “Instead of working as individual operators and sellers, we provide a platform for them to connect to hundreds of buyers from all over the world in one venue, which saves them precious time and money. The event also gives buyers a more comprehensive view of the different destinations and packages that they can sell to consumers, either as individual or bundled tours.”

Becoming a premier MICE destination

In the past, the Philippines has successfully hosted major events including the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits in April and November 2017, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November 2015, to name a few.

Currently, there are also a number of well-equipped convention centers strategically located around the vicinity of international and homegrown five-star hotels around the country including The Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and SMX Convention Centers in Metro Manila, the Grand Convention Center of Cebu, Sky Hall Seaside Cebu and Cebu Trade Hall; Davao Convention and Trade Center and SMX Convention Center Davao; SMX Convention Center Bacolod, and Iloilo Convention Center.

The Philippines undoubtedly has what it takes to host a large-scale event, however, TPB’s goal extends beyond this capability; the agency hopes that the country becomes a top-of-mind MICE destination in Asia.

To fulfill this, the TPB works with local stakeholders in the industry across the country to continuously come up with affordable and competitive travel products and packages. It also organizes educational and knowledge-sharing seminars with other government agencies, hotels and resorts, airlines, tour operators, local government units and even the local communities to improve delivery of services.

Complementing all these are a slate of tourism-related infrastructure projects—under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program—to ensure that travel from one destination to another is convenient and pleasant for all. And with events like MICECONnect 2019, it’s a step further to the realization of the goal.

Apart from providing a venue to transact business with local MICE suppliers, participants were treated to an amazing display of culture, entertainment, and cuisine through the various post-tours showcasing the best MICE destinations like Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Bacolod, Iloilo, Manila, Tagaytay / Batangas, Boracay and Davao.

The tours also raised awareness on sustainable tourism with programs touching on community life, proving the diverse offerings and products of the country.

Heading to Davao for MICECON 2020

On October 23, COO Tan and DOT Undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr. awarded Davao City as the MICECON 2020 host destination at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

This is Davao’s second win as host, the last one being in 2013, and Davao City Tourism Operations Officer, Generose Tecson, lauded the private sector for the help it extends to the local government for keeping the city a MICE-ready destination.

MICECON 2018 was previously held in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and the 3-day gathering welcomed delegates from different parts of Western Visayas plus world-renowned speakers including Liz Jackson, the President of Jackson Consulting, Inc., Jerry Sibal, the founder of Jerry Sibal Design LLC and KF Seetoh, Singapore’s Food Ambassador and founder of Makansutra, to name a few.

As the biggest gathering of MICE professionals, MICECON is an educational event that touches on a wide-range of MICE and tourism-industry related topics conducted by professional speakers from all over the world.