SEA Games hosting seen to boost Philippine MICE industry

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games is seen as an opportunity for the country to improve its profile as a destination for the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sector to further lure more tourists.

“Hosting the SEA Games was an opportunity for us to gauge our preparedness for future events and determine if we have sufficient and world-class facilities, including hotels and restaurants,” Colliers International Philippines research manager Joey Roi Bondoc told The STAR.

Bondoc said while there were logistical mishaps in the arrival of some SEA Games delegates, the Department of Tourism (DOT)’s move to immediately convene the hotel operators and stakeholders was step in the right direction.

“Perhaps there were gaps in preparation and coordination and we should use these as a guide moving forward especially if we want to host major, bigger MICE and sporting events,” Bondoc said.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier called an emergency meeting with Metro Manila hotels and tourism stakeholders in line with addressing concerns in the arrival and hosting of SEA Games delegates.

Puyat has directed concerned hotels to ensure that Filipino brand of hospitality is extended to the delegates at maximum capacity.

“Eventually these measures should help us improve our profile as a global MICE destinations and attract more tourists,” Bondoc said.

“These should help raise hotel occupancy and foreign tourist spending in major MICE destinations such as Metro Manila, Clark, Cebu and Iloilo,” he added.

MICE is among the 10 tourism products under the country’s national tourism development plan.

Puyat earlier emphasized that the MICE industry does not only make a destination more competitive, but also sustainable and very inclusive.

“The ripple effect of MICE is very far reaching as it provides direct and indirect jobs, making tourism everybody’s business,” Puyat said.

Last year, the DOT launched the MICE Roadmap 2030, which plants a more definitive approach to the growing industry.

Under the roadmap, the industry is eyeing to grow revenues generated by MICE market to P24.4 billion by 2030, an estimated 430 percent jump from the P4.6 billion registered in 2016.

In addition, the roadmap also targets the gross value added of MICE industry to increase to P1.4 billion by 2030, from P415.3 million in 2013 and an improvement of the average rate in delegate expenditure per meeting by 19 percent.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines President Jose Clemente III earlier told The Star that he does not see the earlier logistical issues to have longterm effects on the Philippine tourism industry.

“It’s unfortunate that there were issues but the important things is to address them and resolve them as soon as possible,” Clemente said.

Asked if these mishaps are seen to affect the country’s chance of hosting future regional events, Clemente said it will not.

“As far as hosting regional events here, I do not see any adverse effects especially if we can recover for the SEA Games,” Clemente said.

“This is only one event and should not be indicative of the country’s overall capability to handle events,” he added.







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