Philippines' Iloilo City is experiencing a MICE boom as of late -- and its hotel industry is benefitting as a result.
Junel Ann Divinagracia, the City Tourism and Development officer, revealed that about 50-70% of the 1.2 million tourist arrivals in 2018 were due to events and conferences, according to a recent press statement. This was in part due to the six-month closure of Boracay Island in the same year, which caused many of the slated conventions there to be diverted to Iloilo City instead.
In response to the city's growing popularity as a MICE destination, hotels there are gearing up for the influx of travellers. Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice president of sales and marketing at Megaworld Iloilo Business Park (IBP), said, "Right now, we have a total of 475 hotel rooms and we will be adding [more]. By the end of 2022 we will have 1,000 [additional] rooms to accommodate travellers here".
Iloilo City currently has around 4,700 hotel rooms in the city, including those of small businesses. Even with an increase of 1,000 rooms at IBP, however, the number will still only represent 20-30% of the total room capacity of the entire city.
Harold Brian Geronimo, senior vice president and head of public relations at IBP, added that the current capacity of IBP can only cater to about 10% of the close to 4,000 hotel rooms needed for big conventions. To address that, Geronimo said that a series of boutique hotels will be constructed within a nine-hectare commercial district.
Aside from accommodation, Geronimo shared that IBP will fully operationalise one of its transport hubs before the end of 2019. The transport hubs will cater to tourism and P2P buses, shuttles and other vehicles with routes to Southern Iloilo City, Iloilo International Airport, Boracay Island, as well as other nearby destinations.