Private sector key to priming Philippines to be top MICE destination, says PACEOS chair

By 2030, the Philippine meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) industry targets to earn a revenue of PhP 24.8 billion and achieve an International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rank of ten and above among countries in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

These goals are declared in the industry’s recently launched roadmap and are backed up by the Department of Tourism, Board of Investments, and the Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers, Inc. (PACEOS). Seen as one of the key growth drivers in tourism, MICE has been a strategic focus area in the Philippine National Tourism Development Plan.

Recent data show that MICE revenues in the Philippines total to PhP 4.6 billion. Moreover, ICCA reports that the country is ranked 14th of the 36 countries in the region as of 2016. Given these baseline figures, the 12-year roadmap was strategically laid out to prioritize the expansion of MICE economic opportunities and the strengthening of the country’s global competitiveness. At large, the plan requires multi-sectoral effort.

“Tight collaboration between the private sector and the government is key to achieving the industry’s goals, and this roadmap is the first step,” commended Monette Iturralde-Hamlin, PACEOS chair.

The spearheading role of the private sector

Enabling policies and institutional support from allied industries such as telecommunications, real estate, hospitality, finance, and transportation among others are essential to catalyzing the expansion of MICE in the country. Hamlin emphasized that the private sector, which are the industry key players, must take the lead in communicating that MICE is a strong economic driver in the Philippines.

“We’ve already identified the contribution of MICE to the country’s gross domestic product. Now we must use this data to garner support from various government agencies because we need their help in streamlining licensure processes, encouraging foreign direct investments, removing regulatory constraints, and allocating funds for infrastructure development. These are all crucial to making the Philippines an attractive destination for international events,” Hamlin explained.

The call to be globally competitive

In 1982, the Philippines ranked first in Asia in convention destination listings. This is largely due to the country’s strategic location, unique tourist attractions, world-class entertainment, and talented event planners. Through the years, neighboring countries have become increasingly competitive, outpacing the country’s growth. This poses a need for local MICE businesses to keep up with international standards.

“We have a long track record of organizing international events. We are known for our hospitality and our population is largely English-speaking. But event management agencies, suppliers, and venue and accommodation providers must invest in technology and human resource training to elevate their service quality,” said Hamlin.

Hamlin is an industry pundit with extensive experience in organizing events for local and international organizations. Aside from being the Chairman of PACEOS, she is also the Founder and President of TeamAsia, a 26-year old events agency that expanded into the field of integrated marketing communications. She is a resource speaker for the Philippine M.I.C.E. Academy and has also previously served the Department of Tourism as appointed director for the MICE sector of the Tourism Promotions Board.

Recently, TeamAsia successfully executed several notable events and conventions, such as the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition, Philippines-Australia ASEAN Forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment, Arangkada Philippines Forum, the 9th International IT-BPM Summit, Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018, 28th IPBA Annual Meeting and Conference, and East Asian Insurance Congress 2018.

As a company committed to nation-building, TeamAsia organizes large gatherings that serve as a platform for industry decision-makers to discuss relevant issues and steer unified action towards organizational and national development. By contracting suppliers for the transport, food, accommodation, venue, security, telecommunications, manufacturing and other components of its events, TeamAsia also drives economic activity. Collaterally, by organizing regional and international events, TeamAsia helps boost business tourism and its consequential tourist spending. Moreover, their events facilitate knowledge sharing, cultural exchange, and technology transfer.

Hamlin shared how TeamAsia develops and sources cutting edge technology such as mobile applications, chat bots, Audience Response System (ARS), online and onsite registration with RFID scanners, Augmented Reality invites, 3D projection mapping, hologram, 360 venue wall projection, 360 photo booth, kinect games, and the like to make events more sustainable, interactive, convenient, and memorable for both local and international participants.

By bringing in international clients, events management agencies such as TeamAsia drive the Philippines’ global competitiveness while promoting the country as a preferred MICE destination.