Boracay is being positioned as a sustainable tropical paradise for business events, and its launching pad will be the hosting of MICECON at the end of the month, stakeholders shared in a Zoom interview with TTGmice.
Cleofe Albiso, chair of the newly-formed Boracay MICE Alliance, said that although Boracay is best known as the country’s top leisure draw for domestic and international tourists, the island is ready for corporate groups, having rested well and spruced up over the past three years.
Boracay was temporarily closed in 2018 to the general public as part of the government’s efforts to rehabilitate and redevelop the island, before the pandemic hit last year.
“Covid-19 was a clincher. It became another layer of crisis to weather for the entire ecosystem of Boracay. After a long rest, the white beaches are even more beautiful. The locals miss the travellers so the latter will be truly pampered. It’s not just about their livelihoods but also the desire to provide the visitors with the unique experience in Boracay,” Albiso said.
She added that Boracay has previously forayed into business events, and was a burgeoning destination for teambuilding events, alongside small meetings and conferences.
As such, Albiso remains confident that Boracay “is definitely going to sell” when positioned as a tropical paradise for business events. Currently, the alliance is working on incentive packages to attract business events planners and organisers.
Western Visayas new regional director for tourism, Cristine Mansinares, said that MICECON 2021, to be held in Boracay from October 26-29, 2021, will have 25 buyers heading to the island, alongside a virtual component. MICECON will also be a benchmark as to how Boracay conducts business events under the current situation.
Mansinares added that work still needs to be done, such as positioning and branding Boracay as a preferred business events destination, taking into account the need for tourism sustainability, noting that safety guidelines for business events are already in place. The cache of accommodations, from budget to upscale, also bodes well for business events.
Elmar Lina, president of Boracay MICE Alliance, pointed out that the island is able to handle a variety of corporate events with physical distancing factored in. Venues include 1,500 seats at the island’s biggest convention facility, Paradise Garden Convention Center.
Business events capacity will also be boosted by 800 pax next year, with the slated opening of Boracay Convention Center, shared Lina, who is also general manager of Savoy and Belmont hotels in the Boracay Newcoast integrated tourism development.
Boracay MICE Alliance, supported by the Department of Tourism, its marketing arm Tourism Promotions Board and the local government unit, is composed of member hotels, Boracay Travel Agencies Tour Operators Association, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Compliance Association of Boracay, Boracay Water Sports Association, Malay College, and other stakeholders.
So far, Boracay and Baguio City are the only two Philippine destinations that have received the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travels Stamp, which means they have adopted globally recognised health protocols, Mansinares pointed out.