Enrique Agcaoili, Hannah Heramia
Photo by Enrique Agcaoili/The LANCE.
Pacific Travel Association (PATA) chairman Bob Zozobrado urged Tourism students to explore innovative means of organizing events during the Metro Manila Tourism Convention through ARISE: Accessibility Regenerated Information towards Sustainable Events Management, on October 23, 2018 at the Casa Ibarra in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
The event was organized by the College of Business Administration Accountancy (CBAA) dean Asst. Prof. Kenji M. Asano, Jr. along with Tourism and Hospitality Management program coordinator Asst. Prof. Jinky Batiduan and tourism management students through the Letran Tourism Society (LTS).
Zozobrado has been the chairman of PATA for two years after being re-elected by the Board of Trustees for another term. He is also a former executive director of the Center for Career Services and Industry Relations at the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila campus and a lifestyle columnist at Manila Standard.
Having held top positions in various international airlines and travel agencies, he began his talk by expressing his curiosity about the environment of a Dominican institution like Letran, and his desire to teach tourism subjects as well in the Colegio.
“Every time I pass by Letran I always say ‘I always wonder what’s inside this school’, I’ve never been inside,” he shared.
M.I.C.E. or commonly known as meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.
In line with the M.I.C.E. industry, Zozobrado mainly based his discussion from a report submitted by the Philippine Association of Conventions Exhibitions Organizers and Suppliers, together with government agencies like the Department of Trade and the Department of Tourism (DoT).
With this, he tackled the clamor to change the name of M.I.C.E. into business events or meetings industry as it draws confusion to anyone who ventures into the field. He also clarified that business events do not include everything that M.I.C.E encompasses.
“There are some events in M.I.C.E. that cannot be classified under a business meeting,” he said.
He pointed out that Asia is a big market for M.I.C.E. events as it has been an attraction for businessmen in Europe and North America, saying that one possible factor could be the ‘diversity and the accessibility’ of the Philippines to other countries.
Meanwhile, he also cited the downside of the M.I.C.E. placing emphasis with how Philippines has been a venue for events and the stagnation of the country in terms of operational planning endured after the construction of the Philippine International Convention Center.
“When we first opened the Philippine International Convention Center, we ranked first for international meetings here in Asia”, he said.
“However, we did not keep up with our competitors,” he added.
As what the DoT told, the country is now ranked 14th among the 35 countries in Asia and ranked 48 worldwide. In addition, one reason for inefficiency among event organizers is the inability to keep track of their actual M.I.C.E. events due to lack of official records.
“Local event organizers do not record. There is no official or real actual M.I.C.E. events here in the country,” he said. “Also, event organizers, usually they’re very possessive of their clients, they don’t want to share information to the other,” he bared.
Moreover, in an interview with the LTS president, Khizmeth Sta. Ana shared her insights after the grueling process of organizing the event.
“We plotted the date noong August pa lang”, she said. “We started inviting different schools kasi Metro Manila Tourism Convention so we’re aiming may mapapunta kami na iba ibang school [doon],” she added.
As for the event’s impact on her as a tourism student, she mentioned that the event is a learning opportunity for them to properly deal with stress brought by events and unprecedented instances that could take place in an event similar to ARISE.
When asked if people like her have their minds set to an industry or career track, Sta. Ana could only speak of the opportunity that awaits tourism students and that is the benefits of the M.I.C.E. industry besides the common career track of being a flight attendant or hotel employees.
“Hindi ko siya masasabing yes, hindi ko din siya masasabing no but the grand convention opened a brand new opportunity for us tourism students,” she ended.