MANILA, 1 May 2020: – The Philippines Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat called for a team effort to rebuild confidence in the face of the “new normal” that will require stricter health protocols for the meetings, incentives, conferences exhibitions (MICE) segment going forward.
“Now more than ever, we must close ranks and intensify our collective efforts to once again position the Philippines as a premier leisure and MICE destination,” she said in the recent ‘Global MICE Situationer in the Time of the Pandemic’ webinar where she delivered the welcome remarks.
Organised by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the webinar featured Gaining Edge executive chairman Gary Grimmer, International Congress and Convention Association Asia Pacific regional director Noor Ahmad Hamid, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence president Jenn Glynn and Global Association of Exhibition Industry regional manager Mark Cochrane.
Touting the popular slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”, Grimmer said the country can offer an alternative MICE destination that is known for its people’s hospitality, food, and competitive pricing.
Cochrane noted that some markets in Asia, such as China and Japan, where strong domestic MICE sectors exist there are small signs they are starting to reboot their domestic meetings business. But for local events in the Philippines, particularly in Manila, many of the venues are still being used for medical support purposes.
Given the pandemic, he noted that local clients are likely to serve as the top market for MICE tourism for the rest of the year.
In the Philippines, the DOT has laid out several programmes to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism. One of them focuses on waiving fees for trade shows, roadshows, and other events promoting the Philippines in international markets all the way through 2021.
The first priority will focus on promoting domestic tourism as part of recovery marketing and promotions.
As for the international MICE market, a more cautious approach would be required until restrictions ease worldwide.