Iloilo angling for MICE market with more halal establishments

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Members of the Iloilo business sector meet with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp. led by Malaysian Embassy Trade Commissioner Siti Azlina for a briefing on the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2020 on April 1–4 in Kuala Lumpur. -- BW/EMME ROSE S. SANTIAGUDO

ILOILO CITY — The Iloilo business sector will start developing halal-friendly establishments and food manufacturing to support its campaign to capture a bigger share of meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE).

“We are positioning the city to become a MICE destination and venturing into the halal market is something we can dive into if we want to become a serious MICE player in Asia,” Iloilo Business Club executive director Lea E. Lara told the media last week.

Ms. Lara said there are currently no halal-certified businesses in Iloilo City and establishments hosting major events with multi-cultural participants import the required products for catering.

One step, she said, is participating in the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2020 on April 1–4 in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Embassy Trade Commissioner Siti Azlina visited the city last week and met with the business sector on Feb. 17 to promote MIHAS.

“Iloilo is the very first city that we visited for this. We also wanted to go in other provinces as well and Iloilo being one of the most developed cities in Western Visayas, we want to ensure that the business community here also knows about MIHAS,” Ms. Azlina said.

She noted that the global market for halal, which means products and services prepared in adherence to Islamic dietary rules, stood at $2.2 trillion in 2018.

“It is expected to grow by at least 5.2% year-on-year. It is expected to reach $3.4 trillion in 2040 and I think everybody wants to chip into that trillion-dollar market,” she said.

The Malaysian envoy said while the Philippine’s Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology have been rolling out programs to help develop the halal industry, there are still very few certified establishments.

“I would urge small to medium enterprises to approach halal certifiers and know what requirements they need,” she said.

MIHAS 2020, organized by Malaysia’s trade promotion agency Malaysia External Trade Development Corp., will showcase various halal sectors including food and beverages, food technology, manufacturing, cosmetics, logistics, and tourism, among others.

“We are hoping we can touch base with more companies here in Iloilo to get them to join MIHAS,” Ms. Azlina said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo