Mindanao-wide confab for event organizers, hoteliers to bolster SOX tourism

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato July19 (PIA) – The recent island-wide gathering of big hoteliers and event organizers in Mindanao has provided an avenue for stakeholders to chart the direction of the SOCCSKSARGEN Region as the next choice in terms of hosting meetings, conventions, exhibits and other local and international events.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) 12, is aggressively pushing the region as the newest and an emerging MICE destination in Mindanao. The region has vast potential in agricultural products such as coffee, pineapple, tuna, coconut, pork or swine, and palm oil industries that can be used as add-ons to activities in the region.

Unique product features of the region such as culture and tourist destination are presented as part of the package in promoting and marketing MICE destinations of the region.

Known as SOX, the region’s tourism sector especially ecotourism and farm-tourism has sustained making names and noise both in the local and international market.

Held earlier this month, at Greenleaf Hotel in the bustling General Santos City, region 12 tourism director Nelly Nita N. Dillera said, the decision to conduct this activity here is anchored on the city’s successful hosting of significant MICEEs such as the recent Tuna Congress, Banana Congress, Vegetable Congress and other major local and international events.

Just recently, the city also hosted the APO convention which generated more than 4,000 local and international participants.

The vibrant tourism industry of SOCCSKSARGEN has bring in more investment opportunities and stir up the economic development of the region, local tourism officials boast.

This observation also earned appreciation from Tourism Usec Alma Rita R. Jimenez who said, “as we progress in this continuing tourism dialogue, we can jointly craft an agenda that will allow us to continue the upward trajectory of our tourism performance. This is an imperative because tourism contribution is significant to the economy and national development.”

About 45 participants from different tourism regional offices in Mindanao, local government tourism officers, event organizers, managers of renowned hotels and convention centers and other private sector representatives met to consolidate their initiatives and projects in the island.

Matters concerning provision of incentives as well as the guidelines and standards for tourism stakeholders were resolved in the gathering. Their concerted efforts form an essential part of the unified MICE Development Plan for Mindanao.

MICEE stands for Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences and Conventions, and Exhibits and Expos.

Tourism Usec Jimenez in her message said that the MICE market “is a rich and largely untapped market for the Philippines that shows promising potential.”

This is considering that “the meeting spending is rising globally, led by the Asia Pacific region with a 2.1% expected rise predicted for 2016. Incentive for travel on the other hand experienced a strong year in 2015 and 36% of travel industry professionals expect to spend more than $4,000 per person in 2016” the official stressed.

The MICE-Mindanao Planning Workshop was graced by top national tourism officials led by Usec for Tourism Regulation, Coordination and Resource Generation Alma Rita R. Jimenez; OIC Raquel Ruth A. Tria from M.I.C.E. Department, Tourism Promotions Board; Director Maria Rica C. Bueno, Officer-In- Charge DOT Mindanao and Philippine Association of Convention, Exhibition Organizers and Supplies (PACEOS) President Ms. Maria Lourdes S. Lagandaon. (AC Agad PIA 12/with reports from KElijay DOT 12)