Philippines unveils more information on MICE roadmap

Makati, the financial center of the Philippines

Further details have emerged on the Philippines’ new MICE roadmap to reclaim the destination’s place as a business events powerhouse a decade from now, through measures such as reducing the cost of doing business events and addressing other issues that hamper the sector.

A review of the country’s tax regime is on the cards to reduce the cost of doing business, said tourism undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr., at the launch of the Philippines’ first MICE roadmap. He further noted that the common carriers tax and billings tax were removed in recent years.

Makati, the financial center of the Philippines

The focus is on attracting business events groups from Asia – comprising 70 per cent of foreign arrivals – and the Middle East, a new market which was chosen for its potential, ability to grow and competitiveness.

When asked why the target was not the longhaul markets, Bengzon pointed out that they could not be everywhere and had to choose a focus.

“We have to have a strategic approach towards all MICE activities. We try to maintain a certain discipline for plan formulation that’s not simply a calendar of events but issues that have to be addressed,” Bengzon emphasised.

Among other issues to be tackled by a technical working group from both the government and private sectors include what kind of policy intervention was needed; what infrastructure was required; whether the support infrastructure for business groups need to be upgraded; the kind of focused advertising and marketing needed; and the data required to make informed decisions.

PACEOS (Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers), which helped craft the MICE roadmap, said it will help organise the business events sector, and in turn, increase government awareness of how business events can contribute to the Philippines.

Monette Iturralde-Hamlin, who is part of PACEOS’ board of trustees, said the average spend of business events delegates was six times that of ordinary tourists, and has far-reaching effects as participants bring their families, friends and businesses into the country.

She added that the roadmap will be a big boost to Philippine business events which in the 1980s was the top conference destination in Asia and ranked eighth in the world.

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