CBM shifts attention to Mice industry revival

Business.
Business.(Business File photo)

RATHER than hosting a tourism forum encompassing all of Cebu’s offerings, the Cebu Business Months (CBM) 2024 team is concentrating on a single tourism product believed to have greater growth potential in the province.

In July this year, the CBM Tourism Committee will mount a one-day Mice Forum in a bid to revive Cebu’s position as the leading Mice destination in the country. Mice is an acronym that stands for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.

Designed for industry leaders, the event is meant to “converge and explore opportunities that set the stage for enhanced economic growth and development.”

“We are not disregarding the Tourism Congress, but we are prioritizing the low-hanging fruits that we have missed out,” said Regan Rex King, CBM 2024 overall chairman, during the media launch of CBM 2024 on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

“We missed a lot of Mice activities already. They have transferred to neighboring provinces such as Iloilo and Boracay, despite the fact, that we have one great airport and all such great hotels and restaurants as well.”

Mice events can boost hotel occupancy levels, especially during periods that may otherwise be considered off-peak.

Cebu saw a robust resurgence of Mice events in 2023. It fueld growth in Cebu’s tourism industry, which had been severely affected by the prolonged hiatus in travel activities due the Covid-19 pandemic.

In past interviews, Alfred Reyes, president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu, said Mice has been giving the hotels a good run in business since 2023 even with the absence of some important foreign markets like China, whose outbound travel remains nascent.

The busy Mice activities last year, he said, were a reflection of the vibrant business activities felt across all industries.

“We see Mice to continue to drive growth for hotel business this year and in the years ahead,” said Reyes.

But the HRRAC official stressed the need for Cebu to stand out as there are also other cities in the country eyeing to get a good slice of the Mice market.

While Colliers Philippines sees Cebu as one of the strong and important destinations for Mice, cities like Clark in Pampanga, Davao and Iloilo are also becoming popular Mice destinations.

According to Colliers Philippines, more in-person events organized by property firms, manpower agencies, pharmaceutical companies and travel agencies have been raising the demand for convention centers, function rooms and similar facilities.

It suggested that hotel developers and operators should assess the future demand for Mice facilities given the segment’s potential for a strong rebound.

Upcoming Mice facilities

Two big convention centers are in the works in Cebu-- the SM Seaside City Arena and SMX Convention Center Cebu located in South Road properties and Mactan Expo Center which is located inside the Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City.

According to reports, SM Seaside City Arena and SMX Convention Center Cebu are scheduled to open in 2025 and 2026, respectively. SMX Cebu will have three levels; four exhibition halls will be on the ground level, while the smaller function rooms will be on the second and third levels.

Adjacent to SMX Cebu is the SM Seaside City Arena, an indoor multipurpose venue that will have 16,000 seats.

On the other hand, another Mice facility is opening in Lapu-Lapu City. Owned by Megaworld, the Mactan Expo Center, on the other hand, is a modern state-of-the-art convention facility, which has a seating capacity of almost 3,000 for theater-style setup. It will be Cebu’s first and only standalone convention and exposition center that has its own beach.

Under the Department of Tourism’s Mice Roadmap 2030, the Philippines is targeting to earn some P25 billion in revenue by 2030. It aims to position the Philippines as a leading Mice destination in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East by that year.

The roadmap also targets a rise in the gross value added (GVA) of the Mice industry to P1.4 billion; a lift in the GVA of Mice to 0.01 percent of the gross domestic product; and an improvement in the delegate expenditure per meeting to 19 percent.

Other CBM events

Meanwhile, besides the Mice Forum, this year’s lineup of CBM events promises to “redefine the trajectory of Cebuano’s business landscape through its various platforms for innovation, collaboration and growth.”

The months-long business celebration is anchored on the theme “Padayon Cebu.” CBM’s kickoff is scheduled on May 24.

On June 13, CBM will host the “Good Design. Good Business Summit,” addressing customer experience to enhance business performance across hospitality, retail and service sectors. Experts will discuss brand strategy, digital strategy and physical design.

On June 20, “Padayon Cebu: Enabling Cebu’s Competitiveness through Digital Transformation and Innovation Forum” will delve into the transformative potential of digitalization in streamlining business operations and building future-proof infrastructure.

Moreover, Cebu’s top chief executive officers will gather for “Captains of Industry: A CEO Networking Night” on June 26, to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange in a dynamic setting.

A summit focusing on the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises is slated on June 26 and 27. The two-day event is designed to inspire, promote and grow MSMEs by addressing their unique challenges through insights, success stories and innovative solutions coming from industry leaders, startups and experts and policy makers.

As CBM continued to promote Cebu as an investment gateway in Asia Pacific, a growth solutions expo is set on July 12-13 to offer MSMEs tailored resources for inclusive prosperity.

CBM is an annual activity of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. / KOC

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