by Meetings and Conventions Asia | December 03, 2019
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MANILA - 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.

Speaking to The Philippine Star, Colliers International Philippines research manager Joey Roi Bondoc said hosting of the biennial 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".

Mr 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," he 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.

Ms Puyat has told participating hotels to ensure that the 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," Mr Bondoc added. "These should help raise hotel occupancy and foreign tourist spending in major MICE destinations such as Metro Manila, Clark, Cebu and Iloilo."

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

Ms Puyat earlier emphasised 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," she said.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines president Jose Clemente III earlier told The Philippine Star that he does not see the earlier logistical issues to have long-term 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," he 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."