THE Philippines last week hosted the Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM), demonstrating its readiness to take on high-prestige, large-scale events.
One of the most prestigious international gastronomy congress and exhibition brands in the world, the inaugural MFM kicked off at SMX Manila with 1,088 registered delegates from 15 countries and 80 exhibitors, including 30 from Spain as well as chefs from Singapore and Hong Kong.
Dexter Deyto, vice president and general manager at SM Conventions Specialist, said SMX had to invest in extensive back kitchen facilities to meet the event’s demanding specifications.
For MFM, the challenge in hosting it lay in the coordination between PCOs, Spanish event organisers Arum and Foro de Debate, and the Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board, said Marisa Nallana, PACEOS chair and one of the lead coordinators.
However, she commented that the Philippines is ready for such mega events. “We’re ready – in terms of personnel, organiser (capability), and staffing.”
Deyto also pointed out that the nation has hosted such events before, such as Philconstruct, which took up all of SMX Manila’s convention space. It will also welcome even bigger events by the Philippine Franchise Association and the Asia Pacific Retail Convention and Exhibition, both to take place in October.
However, Nallana pointed out that areas for improvement encompass reducing the amount of waiting time for government processes, such as bidding, processing of bids, approvals, etc.
Verna Buensuceso, tourism department project director for MFM, said: “Initiatives such as these, and upcoming events like Routes Asia and dive show brand DRT Manila are helping us improve as a MICE destination.”
She added that the Philippines is now regaining lost ground against its neighbours.