HOW is Davao City a host to a national or international event?

Let’s name one— the 2006 ASEAN Tourism Forum. The affair is still on top of the minds of many tourism industry professionals who were delegates. It’s not because the gathering marks the Silver Anniversary of the ATF but because Davao displayed how the city is as a host. It was no less than grand with its high energy, burst of colors, and staging of culture.

In 2019, Davao submitted its bid to the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) to host the 2020 Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions (Mice) Conference. The city was aiming for its second time to hold the largest gathering of Mice professionals in the country after a successful mounting of the same event in 2013.

Davao was ready for another MiceCon. With all facets that make up a premier Mice destination covered—from conference venues, accommodations, security, and travel connectivity to the region’s rich culture, exceptional hospitality, breathtaking natural environments, and vast culinary offerings. With confidence, the city declared in its bid, “We can do it again. Better.”

Davao City won the bid to host MiceCon 2020.

However, the pandemic moved the hosting date forward to three years. This only gave the organizing committee the chance to meticulously prepare for its hosting duties, which included constant online meetings and the forming of the Davao Mice organizing committee via Executive Order No. 27 signed on June 20, 2022 by outgoing Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte before she took oath as the Vice President of the Philippines 10 days after.

In March 2023, 10 years after Davao City’s first hosting of MiceCon, the MiceCon 2023 took place at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang Premier. The three-day first hybrid event welcomed over 600 face-to-face participants and 2,000 online delegates from the tourism and business events sector. It was the moment to blaze new trails.

Davao wows MiceCon delegates.

While the Tourism Promotions Board, the marketing and promotions arm of the Department of Tourism, brought in a global panel of speakers and introduced new segments in the program to make it exciting, like the personal development segment with power dressing that features Philippine weaves and a MICE Marketplace, Davao had its own surprises that marked MiceCon 2023 memorable.

The traditional welcome by cultural performers may be familiar to event visitors, but a flash mob is not. The drama of the dance production by the students of the Joji Ilagan International Schools at the airport’s arrival area was a surprising and applause-inducing welcome.

In between and after conference sessions, the Davao organizing committee made sure that all the social events were relaxing as they were catchy and unforgettable. The themed luncheons and dinner events were culinary celebrations, and visual and auditory treats.

The Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao Region-hosted dinner transformed the Garden Tent of the Waterfront Insular Hotel into a dreamy verdant paradise with a curated buffet spread under the canopy of trees.

It was during the Mayor’s Night that both locals and visiting delegates witnessed that SM Lanang Premier’s Fountain Court can be transformed into an impressive dining scene and its bleachers into an expansive stage where a troupe of 200 artists performed the dances of the 11 tribes of Davao. The cuisine wasn’t to be outdone, the celebration of diversity was on the spread, tribal cuisine and a cornucopia of fresh fruits in season Davao is famous for.

The travel and technology-themed Farewell Dinner hosted by the TPB at the Tent at Azuela Cove drew in delegates in flight ensembles— pilots, cabin crew, and even astronauts. It was the fitting garb for a “Padayon” affair, it prompts everyone to move forward unceasingly as the world emerges from a health crisis.

At the evening’s affair, Duterte said, “Davao City’s long-term goal is to position our city as a key MICE destination in the Philippines and the BIMP-EAGA Region. Today, as a proud Dabawenya and Mindanawon, I can say that Davao City and the whole of Mindanao continue to hold so much promise. For an industry that puts physical and memorable experiences at the heart of its services, the resumption of these events symbols a chance for recovery and an opportunity to build a stronger industry.”

How did Davao fare? DOT Secretary Cristina Frasco said Davao has raised the bar for MiceCon having held such an excellent exhibition of the potential that the Philippines can have to be the leading MICE destination in Asia, “For 2023, Davao has shown us the way. It has become a model for others to follow, and a springboard from which we can launch even more exciting MiceCons in the future.”

Another feather on the city’s cap with Davao hosting another memorable event with MiceCon 2023. It may be the #bestmiceconever, but more than just a MICE venue, Davao is an experience.