THE PHILIPPINES – which has not had a major MICE campaign and incentive programme since the early 2000s – is now working on bringing back an arsenal of MICE-friendly measures, to be revealed in the next year or so.
Philippine Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) senior convention services officer Nedalin Miranda told the Daily that there were plans to “revive an incentive package”, similar to what was offered when the Meetings Make Manila campaign was launched in 2000.
The Daily understands that tax exemptions on MICE-related spending such as hotels and transport are being discussed with local government units in the Philippines, while there will also be funds that can be tapped for event bidding and execution. TPB is also negotiating for preferential rates with hotels and airlines, and has identified a list of reliable DMCs that they endorse.
Said Miranda: “We currently give financial support to local associations who bid (for international events) on a case-by-case basis now. We’re working on coming up with fixed categories, based on the size and importance of event, so that associations can qualify.
“We recognise that the MICE market is a special niche in tourism, and we have to come up with specific branding and help.”
She added that the MICE campaign would gel with the new national tourism branding, to be launched next year after a failed attempt at one in 2010 (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 21).
Industry players said such plans would provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the Philippine MICE market.
Orly Ballesteros, director of ways and means, Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers, said: “We weren’t able to snag some of the deals in the past because of lack of resources. For example, visiting international associations asked for free site inspections which we could not afford.”
SMX Convention Center director of sales Charry Casabar similarly said this would make the Philippines a more competitive MICE destination.
“We will also continue to support associations when they need. This means that with both the private sector and the government helping, we will be able to cover more ground,” she added.