Iloilo City is gaining ground as a premiere MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibits) destination in the country, Senator Franklin M. Drilon said on Friday.
During the presentation of Iloilo MICE tourism marketing plan to the new and re-elected local government officials at the Iloilo Convention Center on July 26, Drilon pointed to numerous advantages of Iloilo as a premiere MICE destination.
“The transformative impact of tourism cannot be underestimated. It is an engine of growth. It creates jobs, drives the development of the city, allows both small and big businesses to flourish,” Drilon said.
“Iloilo has all the makings of an excellent MICE destination. I am certain that we have everything to ensure an unforgettable Iloilo experience for every MICE participant,” he added.
He cited the Iloilo Convention Center, which could accommodate large-size conferences, the various tourism attractions, such as the famous Iloilo River Esplanade, the various museums.
In 2017 and 2018, Iloilo hosted a total of 46,000 participants in various meetings, conventions, trade fairs, and exhibits by different major organizations, Drilon noted.
Iloilo was one of the few cities in the country that hosted both the APEC and the ASEAN, he added.
For the first quarter of 2019, Drilon said Iloilo was venue to forty-six meetings and conventions with a combined participant of 30,000.
Drilon said among his plans is to develop more tourism attractions in the city and the province, including to develop the old aduana and put up a museum of maritime history and a museum dedicated for Panay war veterans.
Iloilo played a big role in the success of the seafaring industry, according to Drilon.
“It will be an addition to a number of tourist attractions that we have already built. At the same time, it will help us to tell our children that Iloilo is a historic place that we can be proud of,” Drilon said, saying the plan is to start the construction next year.
Drilon also urged the city government to help restore the Calle Real into its old grandeur, saying it can serve as an image of what Iloilo was at the turn of the century.