THE Gaisano Capital Group is slowly transforming its two-hectare property along ML Quezon National Highway in Lapu-Lapu City into a mixed-use development with the addition of the 10,000-square-meter, three-storey Mactan Island Convention Center.
Momot Irizari, the company’s corporate head for mall operations, lease and administration, said the 1,500-capacity convention center aims to cater to the rising demand of meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition (Mice) activities in the historic resort city.
More so, it will complement the family’s plan of transforming the area into a mixed-use complex that would complement the company’s existing Gaisano Mactan Island Mall.
“The plan of the family is to develop this into mixed-use complex, which eventually have hotels and other commercial establishments in the next five years,” said Irizari.
Last Wednesday, the company formally unveiled to the public the Mactan Island Convention Center, the group’s first stand-alone convention center in Mactan. The three-storey building houses commercial spaces on the first two-levels and six function rooms that come in different area sizes on the third floor.
“They built this to provide an alternative venue for the locals to hold their activities at a reasonable price,” said Irizari. “This is the first of its kind whose venue is within the mall’s vicinity,” she added.
She noted Mactan Island Convention Center is an added boost to Cebu’s positioning as an ideal Mice destination.
“There is no reason for the locals and institutions to go far to hold an event because they can now do that in Mactan. It would now be more convenient for them, given the traffic condition and our proximity to the resorts, hotels and the international airport,” Irizari said.
The Mactan Island Convention Center was completed in 2014. The company started accepting few event bookings last year, which, according to Irizari, were mostly school-based events, weddings and some private functions.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 is expecting more big-ticket events happening in Cebu in the years to come, following its successful hosting of a number of international events last year that put the province in the global spotlight.
Last March, DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo announced that the tourism stakeholders will be drafting a manual dedicated to Mice.
She said the Cebu Mice Manual will contain incentives for Mice organizers and basic information on Mice venues, among others. The manual is scheduled for launch on 2017.
Tourism players in Cebu have been helping Cebu position itself as the hub for international events. Hotel players, for example, have spent significant investments improving their meeting facilities and ballrooms in anticipation of more arrivals this Mice market would bring.
Asked if the Mactan Island Convention Center is prepared to host “ASEAN-like” meetings, Irizari said they are ready to host big events but must first look into the technical requirements the events require to improve their services.