Mary Ann Montemayor, East ASEAN Growth Area Tourism Council chair, said Cebu’s International Convention Center, venue of the recent ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in January, is pulling business away from Davao despite the city’s unique tourism advantages.
She said the project could be built as a joint venture between the government and local businessmen. Montemayor said the convention center would require "a huge investment" but added it doesn’t have to be like
She said the joint venture can follow the model of
She said the ball is now with the private sector as government, which she said is keen on the project, is waiting for a proposal.
Already, she said, four businessmen have expressed interest. But Montemayor said government needs to announce more incentives to get more people interested.
Special incentives, she said, could be offered like tax exemption and fast business registration. She said the
But the government, she said, could craft more special offers like exclusive booking of government events in the convention center.
The Cebu Provincial Government built the CICC in time for the 12th Asean Summit and 2nd East ASEAN Summit at a cost of around US$10-million dollars. It is a three-storey structure with a gross floor area of 28,000 square meters on a 3.8 hectare land at the Mandaue City Reclamation Area in Metro Cebu.
She said Cebu’s tourism prospects lag behind that of
Montemayor said more players wanted to come here for the Packaging Congress late last year but didn’t push through because of space constraints for exhibits.
She said most MICE organizers require big venues for big events. Existing venues are either too small for many local and international events or are not available anymore. She cited the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ convention hall and the Apo View Hotel ballroom which gave way to a casino.
In its website,
The city has become the "preferred destination for conventions and conferences" due to its changing and improving economic and tourism landscape.”
"It attracted organizers to conduct major conventions here instead of proverbial settings like
"Modern, sophisticated, and state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for conventions and conferences are now readily available. This is equally complemented by the establishment of new first class hotels and mountain resorts,” it added. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)