Envisioned as the country’s next convention destination, Iloilo owes it to the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center, a prime setting for ‘meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. Since the completion of the two storey structure, visitor arrivals have dramatically increased. Arrivals have reached 1.24 million in 2018 compared to the 627 thousand in 2013.
The Iloilo Convention Center, designed by Ilonggo architect William Coscolluela, boasts a total floor area of 11,832 square meters, a seating capacity of 3,700 on the first floor and another 500 on the second. The convention center also has another 1,500 square meters space on the rooftop. So far, the convention center has hosted high profile events such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the East Asian Seas Congress and World Food Expo.
In line with this, the Department of Tourism has recently launched a ‘Meet You In Iloilo’ campaign in a bid to promote Iloilo as a destination of choice for ‘Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions’.
“The campaign aims to expand the MICE pie with more tourism players. We are expecting to open more than 2,000 rooms between this year and 2022, adding to the current inventory of 4,000 rooms in the city,” states Bernadette Romulo Puyat, Tourism Secretary. “MICE impacts more than just venues and convention facilities, but hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, and car services. It also bolsters tour guides, production companies, spas and wellness centers, and producers of crafts and souvenirs,” adds Puyat, in an article by Business Mirror.
According to Arturo Boncato, Department of Tourism undersecretary for Tourism Regulation, Coordination, and Resource Generation, the MICE campaign will cost an estimated Php 50 million, with both private and public entities pitching funds.
“For our DOT system, from planning to [the] rollout [of] Meet You in Iloilo this year, the DOT is investing P10 million, and at least another P10 million as base amount next year for the rollout of activities such as roadshows, participation in travel marts, hosting, consultancy services, etc. Our initial private-sector partners Ayala, Megaworld and SM will have their own spend to support our ad and promo campaign. Each member of the Iloilo MICE alliance has its own program, too, along with the LGU as well. This brings the total estimated value of this public-private partnership within the vicinity of P50 million for 2019-2020,” states Boncato.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treňas allocated a Php 7 million budget this year to “add to the promotions of Iloilo as a MICE destination. And for next year, we have included in the proposed supplemental budget next year, P28.5 million.”