THE Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) is banking on the Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibits/events) industry to help revive tourism in the city.

"Ang nakikita namin is that ang talagang kikita at this point or in the future will really be Mice. But at this point, we will just focus muna on meetings and conferences," CTOO head Generose Tecson said in a virtual presser.

She said the bulk of the income of the city's tourism office came from Mice Conferences (MiceCon).

"We should also take advantage of the fact that the President came from Davao City so everybody wants to go to hold their meetings here in Davao," she said.

Tecson added the city's response on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will give potential visitors the confidence to hold their business meetings in the city.

"Our mayor (Sara Duterte-Carpio) was able to set guidelines and protocols even before the omnibus guidelines came out. Nauna po tayo (We were ahead). That is one of the things that we want to highlight for the new normal here in Davao City. You are safe not only physically in terms of security but also health-wise," she said.

It can be recalled that Davao City won the bid as the host for the MiceCon for 2020, besting other strong Mice destinations like Clark and Iloilo.

CTOO originally targeted to launch the MiceCon 2020 around September this year the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier.

It was supposed to gather more than 500 Mice professionals, travel and tourism industry stakeholders in the country.

But with the ongoing health crisis, Tecson said it is expected to be not as grandiose as in the past MiceCons.

Tecson also said the declaration of the Executive Order (EO) 25 or the Period of Mourning and Vigilance from April 17 to December 31, 2020 will not hamper the holding of meetings and conferences.

"Yung EO, does not touch naman much on business events (The EO do not cover business events). It is more for personal events such as weddings, baptisms, birthdays, as well as celebrations of local government," she said.

The EO cancels "all city and national government celebrations, parties, anniversaries, and festivities" including those in founding anniversaries or Araw ng Barangay celebrations.

Private parties to mark personal or family milestones should also be low-key and modest which meant celebrating it in a public place with no more than 25 guests.

"Those who want to hold a big celebration are advised to postpone it until the year 2021," the EO said.

Tecson also said the business conferences and meetings are allowed in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) given that venues will accommodate only 50 percent capacity, citing the National Interagency Task Force (IATF) Omnibus Guidelines.

She said the SMX Convention Center, which is one of the main venues for MiceCon, has reduced its capacity to less than half from about 3,000 people to adhere to the two-meter-apart physical distancing guidelines.

"We will take that challenge as something positive that we should be able to address all these issues and face it squarely," she said.