AFTER a long wait, the Philippine M.I.C.E. Conference (Micecon) in Davao City is all set on March 1 to 3 at the SMX Convention Center to host the country’s premier gathering of industry professionals.

Davao City won the bidding to host the Micecon in 2019 and the event was originally set for 2020 but was stalled for a few years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today, the three-day event is expected to host more than 500 delegates from meetings, incentive travel, conventions, exhibitions (MICE) industries, and stakeholders.

Micecon 2023 Executive Committee co-chair Gene Bangayan told SunStar Davao on February 28 that the preparations for the Micecon are unfolding as planned.

She said the only challenge they are anticipating is delayed flights of the delegates and speakers but other than that, their preparations and plans have been going smoothly.

“As early as February 27, there were arrivals of delegates already. The welcome reception at the airport was well-received. We expect to (conduct the activities) smoothly,” Bangayan said in an interview.

Bangayan added that the Micecon Davao is one of the highlights of the tourism industry that will help kick-start the recovery of the local economy.

“The decision-makers and key players will be here so we hope that this will encourage them to bring more Mice (and investments) to Davao,” she said.

In order to avoid transportation and traffic woes during these days, the Davao City Transport and Traffic Management (CTTMO) said the Micecon organizers have allocated buses and vans for the delegates.

A total of 10 tour buses, 30 vans, and reserve e-jeepneys will escort all the delegates from the airport, hotel, convention center, and other places included in their official itinerary during the three-day event.

“The taxi and public utility jeepneys (for the general public) will be as usual lang. Dili ma-short, (if that’s the concern) kay allocated man ang transportation,” assistant traffic operations officer Alfredo Tamayo said in an interview.

Tamayo added that CTTMO and the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) have a traffic and security plan in place wherein the Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) will convoy the delegates for route security.

At the same time, CTTMO enforcers are in charge of traffic management along the routes especially at intersections to avoid the dreaded heavy congestion.

With the theme MICECONverge: Blazing New Trails, the hybrid conference has a jampacked lineup of activities for the participants including Kadayawan Adventure city tour, Power Glam Workshop, MICE Marketplace, and the Philippine MICE Youth Challenge.

The three-day MICE Marketplace, which will feature interactive exhibits from partners and stakeholders will also open on March 1, through a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines Maria Margarita Nograles, regional director of Department of Tourism in Davao Region Tanya Rabat-Tan, head of Davao City Tourism Operations Office Jennifer Romero, and Davao City councilors Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz and Al Ryan Alejandre.

Various plenary sessions will also take place wherein delegates and a lineup of distinguished speakers will discuss industry trends, opportunities, and the future of MICE.

“We will have a strong roster of global speakers coming to Davao to be with us and share their expertise with us,” Nograles said during the One Davao press conferences on February 27.

Leaders hope the Micecon will help establish Davao City as a premier MICE Hub in Asia. Nograles added it is one of the Board’s priorities to promote Davao City as a business and leisure destination to promote Mindanao and boost tourism in the region.

“That is our priority, to highlight Davao as the preferred Mice destination. We are more than ready. We have a strong private sector and local government unit. We can really prepare and present ourselves to the world,” she said. ICM