by Stanley Ho | October 15, 2019

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A tribal dance on the streets of Iloilo. The Philippines city is rich in history, heritage and culture.

ILOILO - The Philippines city of Iloilo will soon welcome a brand new convention centre, after developers SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation announced the building of a new facility by mid-2021.

Last week, SMX Convention Center's vice president for sales and marketing Agnes Pacis was reported as saying that, while the final design for the facility has yet to be finalised, the company aim to complete it by the second quarter of 2021.

"It will have over 4,300 square meters of leasable space," Ms Pacis was quoted as saying in the Philippines media.

She added that it will be around a quarter size of the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia (MOA) complex in Pasay City. It is expected to accommodate 4,000 people, a thousand more than the existing Iloilo Convention Center which holds 3,000.

NEW MICE CAMPAIGN

The announcement came on the sidelines of the launch of the "Meet you in Iloilo" MICE campaign by the Philippines Tourism Board at the Iloilo Convention Center in Mandurriao district on Oct 10.

The 50-million-peso (US$970,000) campaign includes a basket of incentives, promotions and related tourism packages in partnership with various tourism stakeholders.

It aims to draw more tourists, business visitors and exhibitors to Iloilo City.

"What makes Iloilo City a unique MICE destination is its rich in history, heritage and culture providing enriching experiences to delegates, and adding value to their stay," said Philippines tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

In 2017 and 2018, Iloilo hosted a total of 46,000 participants in various meetings, conventions, trade fairs and exhibits. For the first half of 2019, the Iloilo Convention Center was host to almost 80,000 MICE participants.

"(This) campaign aims to expand the MICE pie with more tourism players. We are expecting to open more than 2,000 rooms between this year and 2022, adding to the current inventory of 4,000 rooms in the city," said Ms Romulo-Puyat.

"MICE impacts more than just venues and convention facilities, but hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, and car services. It also bolsters tour guides, production companies, spas and wellness centres, and producers of crafts and souvenirs."

WHAT THEY SAY

Tourism stakeholders were enthusiastic about the MICE campaign for Iloilo City.

"We really need this campaign for MICE as part of the MICE Roadmap," said Cesar Cruz, president of the Philippine Tour Operators Association. "The destination itself is ready; they have the infrastructure, the hotels are ready, things to see and to do for participants of any convention or meeting, and most importantly, the front liners are well prepared now.

"For example, this launch event has been well organised and can serve as a template on how they can organise conventions, meetings and incentives programs."