ARMED with upcoming hardware improvements in the form of a new convention centre and 600 additional guestrooms across at least four hotels, Davao is gearing up to pitch for more MICE business from Asia.
The city will welcome the SMX Convention Center in September (TTG Asia e-Daily, May 2, 2012), in addition to a Park Inn by Radisson, a Kukun Hotel, a Samal Shores Resort and a Tune Hotel, all of which are currently under construction.
In an interview with TTGmice e-Weekly, Art Boncato, the Philippine Department of Tourism‚Äôs (DoT) regional director for Davao, said the new facilities would allow the destination to target ‚Äúcity-wide conventions that (will) fill up multiple hotels‚ÄĚ, in addition to corporate incentives from Singapore, Hong Kong and ‚Äúthe growth area covering Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines‚ÄĚ.
Davao presently draws regular small-scale meetings that are held in hotels and resorts.
To attract large-scale conventions to Davao, Boncato said DoT’s strategy was to ‚Äúco-brand with key MICE and even non-MICE entities‚ÄĚ to strengthen the city’s MICE campaign and provide additional support for MICE organisers.
Boncato‚Äôs office will also push ahead with its Let‚Äôs Meet in Davao programme, which was launched last year to draw MICE traffic to the city. A MICE manual and MICE desk have been created for event organisers, while incentives such as the provision of an information counter at the airport, welcome kits and leis may be offered to MICE groups, subject to minimum group size requirements.
DoT and the city government are also intensifying their marketing and sales efforts. Jason Magnaye, head of the City Tourism Operations Office of the Davao City Government, will spearhead a marketing blitz in Singapore in July. The courtship, played out through media and travel trade fam trips, will be extended to China and other source markets in the future.
Gene Bangayan, president of the Davao Tourism Association, is certain that the improved facilities and additional hotels will help the destination attract more MICE business from Asia.
She pointed out that various airlines were already operating to Davao direct from Singapore, and from Hong Kong via Clark, Manila and Cebu. She added that Davao‚Äôs tourism performance would get a boost if MASwings‚Äô plan to expand its network in the Davao-Kota Kinabalu-Manado triangle materialises.