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The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Entertainment sector continues to show great potential in boosting Philippine Tourism this year. MICE locations usually offer high-quality venues and first-class hotels and facilities fitting for international gatherings and special events. These locations are usually multifunctional and are built to deliver both on serious business and pleasure.

As early as 2018, the Philippines was recognized as a viable destination to attract more foreign travelers to the country through MICE tourism. These locations are often complimented by the Philippines' world heritage sites and unique natural and cultural wonders.

To date, the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines handpicked several MICE locations throughout the country. The country's capital alone houses the Mall of Asia Complex, Philippine International Convention Center, and Cultural Center of the Philippines that can host both business and pleasure functions. Other locations include Metro Manila, Cebu, Bohol, Boracay, Palawan, and Davao. These cities and provinces proved to be an attractive choice for its "excellent business and travel incentive" without foregoing accessibility, hospitality, and cost-effectiveness.

 PH is ideal for MICE

The convention and entertainment industries continue to thrive in a country like the Philippines. According to the TPB primer, the country is seen as the crossroads of the Asia Pacific region, given its several gateways and airports that can host and will allow for more tourist arrivals or foreign visitors.

Apart from being one of the most hospitable countries in the region, the Philippines also has a global appeal given its cost-effective sites and ability to offer a wide variety of adventures in select tourist destinations in Metro Manila, Vigan & Laoag, Baguio & Banaue, Cebu, Bohol, Boracay, Palawan, and Davao.

From a business perspective, the country hits the sweet spot as it is characterized as a well-established center of commerce in one of the most deregulated trade-oriented economies in the region. It also offers a broad portfolio of specialized industries and is currently the top pick for Business Process Outsourcing and Online Gaming sectors.

The Department of Tourism also has an arm that can help international or local organizers utilize the MICE locations in the country. Through the TPB, bid preparations, incentive program planning, liaison services, and site inspection can be easily coordinated. Value-added assistance also includes attendance promotion and airport reception for tedious logistical needs.

 Bigger MICE growth in Southeast Asia

The Philippines focus on MICE takes precedent to the boom happening in the Asia Pacific region. Asia has been proactive in developing the MICE sector given its importance to tourism and the economy. According to the World Travel Monitor, Asia recorded the fastest growth in this sector since 2009. It registered 6% growth in 2013 and has taken half or 54% of total business travel recorded.

According to a Censere report, economic growth is inevitable as the industry is comprised of three important facets: upper stream (activity organizers), midstream (accommodations, facilities, services), and downstream (advertising agencies, logistical services, travel agencies).

Proper integration and employment of all of these MICE facets affect the tourism, hotel, transportation, catering, real estate, and the retail markets. This will indeed result in a positive impact on a country's economy as it raises national income and provides more jobs to the country.

Aside from economic growth, the chosen MICE destination also prospers as it aims to benefit from the knowledge sharing, country branding, and networking opportunities it provides.

Asia also poses itself as the second largest market for association meetings after it registered a significant increase after 1997. It is also a major destination for exhibitions with 184 venues or 6.6 million square meters spread out in the region.