DAVAO CITY — The opening of two new convention centers within the next three years will establish the city as a major meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) destination, government and business officials said.
“We need new convention centers to help us lure this huge [MICE] market,” said Arturo M. Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
Mr. Milan said these facilities will also help sustain flights to and from the city, particularly international flights.
City Tourism Officer Regina Rosa B. Tecson told BusinessWorld these new convention centers “will serve as magnets for organizers to bring their events to this part of the country.”
Two companies, homegrown LTS Pinnacle Holdings Inc. and listed firm Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI), recently announced their respective plans to put up convention centers in their mixed-use projects.
LTS Pinnacle, owner of the New City Commercial Center (NCCC) chain of local shopping malls and supermarkets, is developing an eight-hectare complex in its Panacan property where its warehouse is currently located.
Althea D. Lucas, LTS Malls Inc. associate vice president, said they see the need for another convention center in the city to cater to bigger events.
“We want to cater to that need as Davao is growing (in terms of businesses in tourism),” Ms. Lucas told BusinessWorld.
On the other hand, CLI, in partnership with local firm YHEST Realty and Development Corp. of the Huang and Villa Abrille clan, is building a convention center in its Paragon Davao complex.
“This convention center, which is expected to have a seating capacity of about 1,000, will become the go-to-place both of locals and visitors alike,” Jose R. Soberano III, CLI chair and chief executive officer, told BusinessWorld during the recent project launch.
At present, the SMX Convention Center is the biggest in the city. The Ayala-Alcantara joint venture has also set up the Tent, a 1,500-capacity space at the Azuela Cove. — Carmelito Q. Francisco