DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The people of this city have been reaping praises from around the globe for hosting an international event beyond the world’s expectation.
Thus, with the resounding success of the just-concluded international conference on meetings, incentive travel, conventions and events/ exhibitions (MICE), Davao City is making everyone wonder how next year’s event can be like.
And if only to find that out, the delegates seemed eager to register for the 2014 MICE Conference (MICECON) even at this early stage.
“So to whet up their appetites and curiosity, all I could say was ‘surprise’ since it would all depend on the MICECON 2014 host,” said conference convenor Stanie Soriano of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and organizer of the event.
Acknowledging that Davao City’s hosting of MICECON 2013 was a tough act to follow, Soriano hailed the city for its “feasts of exotic food, islands-to-highlands tourism showcases, airport-to-airport hospitality, booming and blooming cityscape, and uniquely ‘funtastic’ cultural presentations that dazzled everyone,” foreigners and Filipinos alike.
A delegate from an event organizing firm commended the welcome reception at the airport for making guests feel special and well taken care of.
“We had a very delightful experience in Davao, all very warm people. Truly, it’s more fun in the Philippines,” said executive Lou Gorospe of Hotel Stotsenberg.
Still in awe over the dinner at the D’Leonor Resort, Glenn Remorra of Imus Institute exclaimed: “Mabuhay Davao! Thank you for demonstrating how to organize a conference and execute it to perfection.”
Even government executives from Manila were all praises for Davao. “All hosted lunches and dinners were great! The hospitality of the Davaoeños is truly remarkable,” said Liza Lucas of the DOT’s NCR office.
“That was a very impressive cultural presentation showcasing the various indigenous groups and talents of the province,” said Evelyn del Rosario of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, as she witnessed the burst of colors from varied costumes, the grace in their movements, and the regal beauty of the performers accentuated by native sounds and sights and the richness of the diversity of the local traditions and heritage.
Nonetheless, it was not only people and performers who flowed all around. “Food was overflowing,” said Ma. Leroz Lizada of the Negros Oriental State University.
“We will attend the next event in 2014,” said Alyssa Sarte of Ex-Link Events after her colleague, Shaine Santos, remarked: “Great speakers, very warm welcome and hospitality. Cheers to Davao City! Food, party and overall experience were very good!”. And to confirm it all, Juli Zardilla from the country’s export marketing and events authority Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions sighed: “Excellent event!”. Not surprisingly, the conference seminars also drew praises and stirred raves. The most popular among the celebrity speakers were Jorg Dietzel, Cherly Cecchetto, Andrew Chan, and Don Allison whose storytelling made many in the audience cry.
“There were just too many inspiring and even flattering comments from all the delegates to quote,” said Soriano, also TPB’s MICE and business development officer-in-charge. “But those comments have brought additional pressure for the TPB to top what it had accomplished for MICECON in Davao this year.”
DOT Davao regional director Art Boncato thanked the TPB for making the city host the event, saying, “We are now regarded as the next-generation destination for MICE.” Boncato said MICECON 2013 virtually showcased Davao City as capable of hosting international conferences. Among them is next month’s meeting of the Technical Working Group for Climate Change.
“Now we are bidding for meetings of international nature and stature and looking at the Asia-Pacific region,” Boncato pointed out, attributing it all to MICECON 2013, which had the biggest number of local and foreign delegates in its history, the unprecedented appearance of President Aquino with DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. and other dignitaries, and the delegation of buyers from Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
MICECON 2013 was also supported by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Primer Group of Companies/Center for Outdoor Recreation and Expedition (CORE), Cebu Air Inc., TeamAsia, Seda Hotels, Edsa Shangri-La, Resorts World, Traders Hotel, Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino, Ginebra San Miguel Inc., and Globe Telecom.