Among Asia's MICE destinations, the Philippines stands out as a preferred option for the business meetings industry and incentive groups. A look at the Philippine MICE Conference (MICECON), organized by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, makes it easy to see why.
With a comprehensive educational platform, MICECON sets the stage for the continuing professionalization of the local MICE industry and shines the spotlight on new technology, facilities and MICE products/services in the host city or destination. But MICECON isn’t held just anywhere in the Philippines; interested local MICE cities and destinations undergo a bidding process conducted by TPB Philippines in partnership with a MICE Advisory Council composed of private and public sector representatives to become a MICECON host.
This year’s MICECON ran from March 1-3 at the SMX Convention Center-Lanang in Davao City. Consistent with its theme—MICECONverge: Blaze New Trails—and its tradition of providing a comprehensive educational platform for all attendees, the event featured top-caliber international and local speakers from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Speakers tackled high-level MICE issues and enlightened attendees with updates on global marketing strategies and best industry practices.
Global Trends, Technology…and More
Playing off MICECONverge’s trailblazing theme, a hefty portion of the conference program focused on global trends for 2023—from changes to events sparked by the pandemic, to new attendee travel behavior, to the rise of hybrid events—and how to manage the technological evolution. Sessions geared toward specific stakeholders provided deep insight into what’s happening in incentive travel; new ways to design and stage content-rich, cohesive, interactive, compelling events with an eye on sustainability, innovation, and cultural sensitivity; and transforming MICE spaces to become more economically sustainable while catering to changing clientele demands and evolving tastes.
In another twist on blazing new trails, attendees had a chance to discover how the tourism industry can be revived in sustainable, inclusive fashion after a period of “zero tourism” during the pandemic, as well as to examine the MICE industry’s critical role in deriving more value from tourism. Event planners explored answers to questions about becoming agents of change and creating sustainable, regenerative events with an emphasis on limiting carbon and environmental footprints and preventing over-tourism.
Participants were also able to zero in on key strategies worth leveraging by MICE service providers to stimulate demand for and increase confidence to travel, tips for supporting local brands and artisans with a global mindset, best tourism operations practices in light of tourism restoration/regeneration, and applying green practices to leave destinations in better shape upon departure.
Optimizing technology in hybrid, online, and onsite events in the wake of pandemically accelerated technological adoption ranked among other hot topics covered in the conference program. For example, some session content focused on how blockchain technology helps with corporate discounts and carbon emissions tracking and how travel and hospitality industry players can tap into and benefit from an omnichannel (cross-channel) content strategy. Attendees also discovered how to select from among onsite technologies (like live streaming and videoconferencing) to achieve overall goals while increasing attendee satisfaction and event ROI.
Breaking new event content ground also garnered its share of attention during the conference. Attendees got the “scoop” on developing content whose “story” entices onsite event attendance, overcoming the challenges of engaging onsite and virtual audiences alike, and building on pandemic learnings while maximizing opportunities for “revenge” tourism. The planning of mega-events was an area of interest as well.
Diverse Pre-Conference Activities
Complementing the conference program were four pre-conference activities designed to acquaint participants with Davao’s highest-caliber tourism and product services, broaden the educational scope of the event, and foster connections among attendees. For instance, a corporate social responsibility excursion involved a visit to the Philippine Eagle Center in Barangay Malagos. Operated by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, the center has long been recognized for its accomplishments in the conservation of critically endangered Philippine eagles through science-based programs and people-oriented strategies. During their visit, attendees learned about conservation amidst a simulated tropical rainforest environment and were urged to make a difference by participating in conservation efforts.
Meanwhile, an introductory session for first-time MICECON attendees offered opportunities to meet MICE industry players and members of the TPB Working Group. MICE Mentors acted as judges during the trivia quiz and the bidding activity which provided room for collaboration among the MICE newbies. MICE Mentors also shared practical tips on how attendees might apply their MICECON experience to their line of work.
Opportunities of a different kind were the focus of the inaugural MICE Youth Challenge, a national competition intended to nurture a culture of creativity and excellence among participants and deepen their knowledge of industry practices. Students who are enrolled in or had recently completed the MICE Management or Business Events class in a Philippine-based university had a chance to conceptualize, test, and present a MICE component or event business plan for review by a select panel of MICE experts from the Philippine MICE Advisory Council. Winners were inducted into the new Future Philippine MICE Leaders Circle.
Finally, in a two-part, interactive Power Glam Workshop, an education manager and product specialists from MAC Cosmetics Philippines shared practical tips for choosing the right cosmetics and creating the best workplace makeup look for every business occasion. The second portion of the workshop focused on power dressing using Philippine weaves produced by local weavers. Attendees learned to appreciate the colors of the Philippine tapestry and how to wear items made from Philippine weaves apparel with power, exuding confidence, sincerity and reliability.
MICECon is headed to Clark on July 10-12, 2024. After a thorough bidding process with representatives from the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, and the MICE Advisory Council, Clark was selected to be the next venue of MICECon. The presentation was led by Clark Development Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Agnes VST Devanadera.
For a unique and memorable conference, exhibition or incentive travel in the Philippines, visit tpb.gov.ph or contact the MICE Department of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.