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Destination Philippines 32 MAR-APR 2020 MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS MCMAG-ASIA.COM Perhaps more signi"cantly, the TPB has also organised a dedicated department charged with overseeing MICE-related promotions e!orts. The Philippine MICE Customer Advisory Council (CAC), an advisory body composed of MICE industry pillars and stakeholders from various sectors (suppliers and end-users), is expected to lend the TPB expert insight on the industry along with a reliable network of contacts. "The end goal," said Mr Gonzales, "is [to ensure] that the programmes that we implement are responsive to the needs of both our stakeholders and clients." Hotel Growth The robust hotel industry, for instance, has continued to expand. Among the biggest players in the accommodation sector is AyalaLand's Seda Hotels. In the last seven years, the group has set up 15 hotels, resorts and serviced residences - across Metro Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and El Nido in Palawan - with a combined capacity of 3,500 rooms. Dusit International, which currently operates six properties in the country's largest metros - Manila, Cebu, Davao - and in Boracay, is on track to add 11 more hotels in the next two years. The 188-room Hotel Okura Manila, within the Resorts World Manila complex, is scheduled to open its doors by mid-year and marks the Japanese luxury brand's "rst foray into the Philippines. Government campaigns Government initiatives, from promotional campaigns to incentive schemes, are likewise fueling the boom. The DOT's new TV commercial, part of its Be Part of the Fun Campaign, is a glossy production speci"cally geared towards a MICE market, and is a showcase of the country's modern meeting and convention venues alongside leisure facilities and well-known tourism attractions. Pristine beaches in Iloilo lloilo: rich in heritage and beauty. Among the new programmes are the MICE Plus Program, a set of incentive packages and privileges o!ered by the TPB to boost MICE tourism by encouraging foreign MICE planners and organisers to hold events in the Philippines. "At the same time," Mr Gonzales added, "it encourages local MICE players to pursue and organise more events in the country at regional and international levels." According to the TPB, regional association meetings are still a major source market. Last year, the country rolled out the red carpet for delegates of several large international conferences in the medical "eld, among them: the Scienti"c Meeting of the Asian Paci"c Association for the Study of Liver; the 23rd Asian Paci"c Congress of Cardiology; and the 26th Asian and Oceanic Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. This year's calendar is also marked with more of these regional association meetings, including the Asia Paci"c Initiative on Reproduction, the International Conference of the Asian Clinical Oncology Society, and Asia Paci"c Occupational Therapy Congress.

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