New TPB COO eyes big events for the Philippines

The Philippine Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) has mapped out new initiatives to convince big congress and convention players to return to the country.

Rolling out over the next two years, these initiatives include the creation of the Philippine MICE Customary Advisory Council (CAC) to help destinations become MICE-ready, prepare strategic plans and programmes, professionalise the industry, create recognition and certificate programmes, disseminate promotional and information materials, intelligence and latest trends and industry best practices.

Marie Venus Tan at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations headquarters in Rome, Italy. Photo credit: ©FAO/Roberto Cenciarelli

The CAC is part of the business events campaign to encourage corporations, associations and event organisers to bring their business events to the country, as part of the renewed efforts to put the Philippines back on Asia’s business events map.

TPB’s new COO, Marie Venus Tan, told TTGmice on the sidelines of the Kain Na (Let’s Eat) culinary tourism launch in Davao last Friday: “I will probably put more people into the MICE Department. I need to build the product before I can market it so that has to go hand in hand.”

Tan added that TPB will help with bidding for “big ticket events” including conferences by WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council), UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), and UNESCO Creative City, alongside music festivals and film screenings. This will be done in cooperation with associations, government institutions, regional and international nonprofits.

Another way to strength the business events sector was to “advertise to all markets in cross-hubs of the world”, to capitalise on world events and focus on interest-driven strategies.

In the 1980s, the Philippines played host to big conventions and congresses, and was the first in Asia to have a convention centre, the Philippine International Convention Center.

“Now we’re being left behind because of technology, and our neighbours are building convention centres for up to 20,000 pax. We might not have their hardware yet but we know how to serve – it’s what we will leverage on,” she said.

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