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THE FIRST physical staging of the 2022 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic proved better than anticipated, as people trooped in droves to the World Trade Center last week to witness and take in the smorgasbord of automotive sights and sounds spread out over four days.
“Worldbex Services International is glad to announce that we were able to surpass our performance targets,” said Worldbex Services Managing Director Jill Ang. “We welcomed some 120,000 visitors in the four-day event, despite logistical challenges and restrictions brought about by the pandemic, episodes of rainy weather and heavy traffic around the area.”
Added MIAS co-organizer Alvin Uy, “We were actually expecting a 30% drop in traffic so 15% was great.” MIAS 2022 featured over 100 exhibitors showcasing some 200 vehicles. “It’s interesting to note that we had to construct two large tents (East and North Wing), the original East Annex permanent tent of WTCMM was dismantled to give way to a new building annex. Due to COVID, the construction has been suspended indefinitely.” This year’s MIAS total covered footprint measured about 20,000 sq.m. plus another 7,000 sq.m. in open areas for outdoor displays, test-drive activities, and the Russ Swift stunt drive exhibition.
Before the pandemic, the MIAS attendance record had been growing steadily — peaking in 2019 with a record 142,000 visitors. That spectacle featured around 200 companies spread out over a 33,000-sq.m. exhibition area, and collected 400 cars, trucks, and motorcycle displays.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MIAS shuttered the physical staging and explored the online medium in 2020 through MIAS Wired — taking its attractions and features to the virtual world through an interactive platform where automotive brands reached more people to showcase their products. MIAS Wired was participated in by 20 exhibitors and garnered more than 100,000 online booth visits during its five-day staging.
This year, the show’s organizers had muted expectations, so the warm response was a bonus. “Even if we did not break our attendance record this year, we are very pleased with the turnout. There was a noticeable drop in the number of seniors and children — which probably accounted for the decline in figures — but we believe the visitors in the 30-to-60-year age group increased, which comprise the bulk of the car-buying decision makers,” shared Mr. Uy.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ang revealed that “almost all the car brands” enjoyed “high numbers in terms of reservations and inquiries.” Buoyed by the success, she anticipates that the situation will continue to get back to pre-pandemic normal as the team girds for next year’s MIAS “sometime around April.”
Concluded Mr. Uy, “There is no secret sauce to a successful event. You just need three ingredients: hard work, a great team, and always ask for God’s guidance.” — Kap Maceda Aguila