Freeman Cebu Business

New luxury resort makes Samal island MICE-ready

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Aside from leisure and vacation escapades, the entry of Discovery Hospitality Corporation to the Island City Garden of Samal in Davao is expected to attract significant corporate events seeking off-the-urban destinations.

The company’s first resort hotel ever established in Mindanao, the five-star Discovery Samal, is situated on a six-hectare beach property. This resort will not only feature luxurious facilities, including spacious accommodations for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibits) events, but it will also evolve into a township, constructing posh and exclusive vacation homes , among other amenities.

Opened in July 2023, Discovery Samal has 128 hotel suites, 15 executive suites, and Grand Signature Suite.

Discovery Samal’s entry is seen to take the spotlight of Samal Island to the growing MICE events, which are now looking at off-urban-destinations.

Aside from the once buoyant leisure market, MICE segment is making a strong come back.

According to a report published by Allied Research, the Asia Pacific MICE industry is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6 percent to 2025, reaching some USD 441.1 billion.

Improvements in infrastructure, such as the establishment of luxury hotels and resorts on the islands, boosts the Philippines allure to ‘bleisure” market, which means that MICE facilities offered in hotels and resorts can look forward to becoming more profitable venture.

According to Colliers demand for MICE across Asia Pacific will continue to grow apace as connectivity and per capita income continues to grow across the region. China and Japan are expected to remain the largest markets, followed by Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Singapore as we head into 2024 and beyond. By 2030, India is expected to enter the ranks of one of the fastest growing MICE markets driven mainly by domestic demand.

Aside from Metro Manila, Colliers believes that other localities likely to corner major events include Clark in Pampanga, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo.

In an interview with the resort’s general manager Stanley Lau, he said the huge convention center which accommodates at least 1,200 is designed to attract the big corporate events including international clientele, as well as boost the island’s appeal for destination weddings.

Located five minutes away from Davao City, Discovery Samal consists of nine private villas, each with its own dipping pool, and features the biggest stretch of resort beach in Samal Island. The resort will also have several restaurants such Morning Catch, Haribar, The Shoreline and Garden City Cafe.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that domestic tourism expenditure reached PHP1.5 trillion (USD27.3 million) in 2022, up 92 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, tourism-related employment in the country reached 5.35 million in 2022, up from 4.90 million in 2021.

According to Colliers Philippines, recovery of the tourism sector is expected to fuel demand for hotels across the country, partially boosting occupancies as well as average daily rates (ADRs). Colliers commended the initiative of Discovery Hotels, which is making significant investments to enhance the appeal of Davao, particularly Samal Island, to a larger number of business and leisure tourists.

In a statement, Discovery Hospitality and president of Discovery World Corporation, Jose Parreño, Jr., he said that its newest tourism facility in Mindanao magnifies the company’s commitment to continually provide highest level of hospitality service across the country.

With introduction of its branded hospitality service in Samal Island, the company is strengthening its portfolio and emphasizing its dedication to making the Philippines a world-class destination.

Discovery Samal features the biggest stretch of resort beach in Samal Island, as well as an infinity pool statement.

The resort has several restaurants Morning Catch, Haribar, The Shoreline and Garden City Cafe. Another specialty restaurant is expected to open soon.

Samal Island is a tropical paradise that boasts stunning white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, lush rainforests, and a diverse marine ecosystem. The island offers a wide range of activities and experiences for tourists of all interests.

From modern comforts to service that is founded on the famously known as “Service That’s All Heart” from its award-winning sister resorts, Discovery Shores Boracay and Club Paradise Palawan, Discovery Samal marks itself as a remarkable and unforgettable place to visit in the south.

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