ILOILO City drew almost half a million tourists during the first six months of the year.
Mice or Meetings, Incentive travels, Conventions and Exhibitions had a fair share as magnet for visitors.
Some 418,079 local and foreign tourists visited the metropolis from January to June, the City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO) recorded.
Mayor Jerry Treñas hopes the increasing influx of visitors will be sustained as the city props up Mice and tourism through massive promotions.
The Department of Tourism-Western Visayas ranked Iloilo City second to Aklan province where famed white-sand beach Boracay is situated.
Aside from back-to-back big festivals Dinagyang in January and Paraw Regatta in February, guests attending Mice events are the biggest contributor, CTDO data showed.
The three-day Conquest Festival E-sports and Pop Culture Festival in Visayas-Mindanao registered 7,500 attendees during the gathering at Iloilo Convention Center (Icon) in Mandurriao district in June.
Other national conventions at Icon included the Integrated Bar of the Philippines with 3,500 lawyers, National Federation of Motorcycle Clubs of the Philippines with 3,300 riders, and Holcim Philippines and Philippine Veterinary Medicine with 3,000 participants each.
Major exhibits included World Food Expo with 2,500 visitors and Iloilo Agrivet and Livestock Expo with 2,000 visitors.
Last year, Mice accounted 50 percent of the 1.2 million annual tourist arrivals in the city. (PR)