PICC: Still the finest venue in 2014

(The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In more than three decades of existence, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) remains as the ultimate venue of choice for a wide gamut of events: from conventions to corporate meetings, consumer events, wedding receptions, graduation rites, concerts, and even parties.

Even with the emergence of competing venues, the PICC still holds its ground, says Roberto Garcia, PICC deputy general manager and director of the Marketing Events Management Department. In fact, he is expecting 2014 to be another banner year for the PICC.

“Just like any other year, we (expect) 2014 to be very good for us, especially with an economy and socio-political situation that continues to improve. The tourism and convention business is relative to economic behavior, meaning if it’s good, people and companies will have more money to hold events and more reasons to celebrate. Certainly, they will look for venues,” Garcia says.

The rise of newer venues certainly affected the PICC for about three years or so, Garcia admits. But he understands that there is simply a “curiosity” factor among event organizers who are always on the lookout for new venues.

But looking at the bright side, Garcia says the availability of more venues not only provides clients with more options, but also beefs up the Philippines’ inventory of world-class events venues.

“If we will go regional or global… for example there is an organizer from Europe looking for a destination for an event, how can we compete if we only have one venue? We are selling the country as a destination for tourists, businessmen and professionals for their conventions and business meetings so having more venues for this purpose is certainly a good plus point for the country,” he adds.

That is why for 2014, Garcia says they will find innovative ways to communicate to people what the PICC is capable of and what it can offer to clients here and abroad. 

There are also certain misconceptions that Garcia wants to change. The PICC remains a top-of-mind choice for huge events, but what people don’t know is that the PICC also caters to smaller ones.

Garcia says they have more than 20 rooms that can sit fewer people — ranging anywhere from 10 to less than 1,000. The smaller rooms are tailor-fit for breakout sessions at workshops or seminars, and further broaden the PICC’s value as a premier events location.

Outside of the main building, Garcia says the PICC also offers a multi-functional events place called “The Forum” — a medium-size facility that can hold various events from graduations to rave parties, auctions, award ceremonies, and even wedding receptions.

When speaking with Garcia, one would understand why the PICC evokes so much pride as an event destination. He hopes that more Filipinos would also feel proud of the PICC, since it belongs to the Filipino people, and not privately owned by any corporation.

The convention center was the first one to be built in Asia, and placed the Philippines in the global event landscape. Globally renowned personalities, important political figures, entertainment icons and even royalty have graced its hallowed halls.

Despite its long and rich history, the PICC is far from being old. “Probably from the outside, but once they are inside, they will see that we have kept up with the times,” Garcia says.

This explains why, according to Garcia, the PICC is currently taking major efforts to upgrade its facilities to become more competitive and be able to extend better services to clients.

Garcia says modernization efforts are underway, like the construction of an additional meeting room that can accommodate 800-1,200 people, replacement of CCTV monitors, installation of new air-conditioning and emergency power systems, perimeter street lighting, sidewalk pavements, even the seats at the various meeting rooms and the Plenary and Reception Halls, plus major structural retrofitting to assure the structure’s integrity and protection against threats like earthquakes and typhoons.

“We have to continuously modernize, improve on small things that really matter. But modernization should also translate to efficiency of services. We also revamped our website, we are now on Facebook, Twitter, and other tools to show them what the PICC is all about and to keep up with the times,” Garcia says.

Garcia also bared plans to build a bigger exhibition hall that will be the first of its size in the country. He laments that by not having one, the options of foreign event exhibitors or organizers are limited.

“We pale in comparison to countries like Singapore or even Thailand, which has a 60,000 square meter, ‘column-less’ events area. Impressive infrastructure in other countries is really a factor for congress organizers in bringing their events to a particular destination,” he says.

Small details such as traffic control are also being looked at by the PICC. They are in continuous dialogue with the CCP Complex management to discuss measures on how to improve traffic flow, especially in light of the upswing of other property developments in the area, which Garcia expects to affect the PICC in the long run.

“Our location (can be) a challenge for us, particularly for organizers of consumer shows, who prefer holding their events near malls because they need incidental foot traffic, unlike the PICC where you have to really go to intentionally and not just a ‘by the way.’ But then again, we have advantages such as ambiance, bigger parking, fresh air compared to hotels in business districts where air is most likely polluted, which makes PICC a really good option,” he says.

What they are also excited about, Garcia says, is the new PICC logo — one that is representative of what the PICC is all about and its renewed dynamism. The new logo combines the seriousness of its business and also elements of fun, but would still remind the public that it is the PICC.

The new logo features five polygons, which represent PICC’s five main facilities, namely the Delegation building, the Secretariat building, the Plenary Hall, the Reception Hall, and the PICC Forum.

Meanwhile, the overlapping of the colors in the logo represents the PICC’s experience and expertise in handling events, while the colors themselves represent not just the kind of events but also its emotional content. Red is for the more lively, fiery, passion-filled events like in arts and culture, and “blue,” on the other hand, is for the other events, the more serious and calm ones.

The new logo’s sleeker look makes it easier to use in various applications, but more importantly, the new logo will affirm the fact that the PICC is still the home venue of the world’s best. It accommodates artists, politicians, top speakers, musicians, the liveliest, the classiest, the greatest, the grandest and the brightest. Especially for those who do not know the PICC, the new look communicates what it stands for and that it now offers more than your usual expectations.

“(The) PICC is still the place to go for events… it is still the venue to reckon with, and the PICC is as beautiful as ever, a national landmark they can be truly proud of,” Garcia says.

To know more about the PICC, visit www.picc.gov.ph.


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