Today’s planners must make their conferences and incentive programmes more engaging and dynamic than ever before to meet clients’ more stringent demands for outstanding event experiences.
While the Philippines is renowned for its award-winning islands (7,641 to be exact), warm hospitality and diverse culture, it is also a leading business events destination in Asia. Not only does the Philippines offer one of the region’s widest choice of accommodations and world-class venues, it is also backed by a network of skilled events teams, making the country ideal for corporate meetings and incentives.
‘Bleisure’ events also come naturally to the Philippines. The major MICE destinations, offering world-class facilities and easy international air access, are never far from a tranquil beach or a spectacular mountain. The serious business agenda does not have to come at the expense of relaxation and mindfulness. Delegates attending a meeting in the Philippines shouldn’t just pack for the conference but also for the beach, or the barbeque.
Lots of heart, soul and intellectual capital
The Philippines is a ‘can-do’ country. Set a challenge and watch it being tackled with energy, enthusiasm and expertise by local MICE professionals. The country has a proven track record of hosting major international conferences, such as the successful World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in April 2022. This ensures that whatever specialised elements an event needs and on any scale desired, meeting planners can be sure of finding skilled local experts with the knowledge and expertise to supercharge their events.
Firm infrastructure built for events
Planners have no shortage of venue options in Manila. The capital city is home to major purpose-built facilities such as the SMX Convention Center Manila, the Philippine International Convention Center and the World Trade Center Metro Manila. Each can provide event support teams with on-site know-how as well as the state-of-the-art equipment to guarantee successful gatherings.
With new properties regularly coming on stream across the city, organisers can select delegate accommodation from a contemporary array of design-led boutique hotels, an ever-growing collection of major international brands, through to vast integrated-resort precincts, many of which lie within easy reach of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The capital’s hotels naturally offer the widest assortment of ballrooms, meeting rooms and function spaces in the country, capable of hosting any size of meeting, gala dinner or other corporate function.
Manila is also an historic city and the heart of the country’s arts and cultural scene. Organisers can creatively blend in elements of Filipino heritage and vibrant contemporary culture to give their programme an authentic feel.
Rising MICE stars in the provinces
Beyond Metro Manila, a number of cities and resorts are staking their own claim as up-and-coming business events destinations.
In Pampanga’s booming Clark special economic zone, the brand-new SMX Convention Center Clark launched its multi-purpose facility in May 2022. Clark benefits from easy connections with Manila itself, while also having its own international airport which is undergoing further expansion. Delegates can explore around Pampanga province and groups can enjoy anything from hot springs to its popular local cuisine.
On the eastern half of Boracay Island, the Megaworld Group has just opened the Boracay Newcoast Convention Center last year. The island’s acclaimed white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters have been refreshed and revitalised, signalling the country’s commitment to sustainability and regeneration.
Davao City, on the southern island of Mindanao, recently hosted several hundred participants for the Tourism Promotions Board’s (TPB) MICECON 2023 under the banner ‘MICEConverge: Blaze New Trails’, which showcased the city and its MICE facilities. The region’s tropical flora and fauna, diving spots and local produce were all highlighted during the show, emphasising the potential of eco-tourist elements to group programmes.
Since the opening of its new international airport, the Visayan island of Cebu has made extending corporate events a renewed focus. The island’s combination of rich history, modern urban infrastructure, dynamic dining scene and vibrant arts community – the city was named UNESCO Creative City of Design in 2019 – offer planners a reliable and flexible destination with a selection of world-class hotels and resorts.
On one hand, there are large venues such as SMX Sky Hall Seaside Cebu, and on the other hand there’s also the option of holding events in Cebu City, where the regional headquarters of many major firms are located, or opt instead for a beachside resort in Mactan Island, close to Cebu airport. Among the new developments on the island is the Nustar integrated resort, which brings a further 1,000 or so rooms, meeting facilities for up to 2,000 pax, bars and restaurants.
The Western Visayan island of Panay boasts the Iloilo Convention Center, which is built in the shape of a local-style catamaran, the paraw. The attachment and pride in local traditions and customs is a common Filipino trait and the native Ilongo people embrace this. Iloilo has hosted international government-level events, such as APEC meetings in 2015 and ASEAN events in 2017, and its hotel inventory is currently surging.
Enriching events with enhanced support
The TPB Philippines has rolled out the Enhanced MICE Plus Program to help local and foreign organisers plan meetings and incentives in the Philippines, offering assistance from technical advice and assistance to material and financial support for qualifying events.
Find out more about TPB’s Enhanced MICE Plus Program here.
This article is brought to you by Tourism Promotions Board Philippines.