Mayor Sara: MICEcon may be cancelled this year

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 April) — The staging of the two-day Philippine Meetings, Incentive Travel, Convention, and Exhibitions/Events Conference (MICECon) 2020, dubbed the “biggest and most anticipated” gathering of MICE professionals in the country, may be cancelled this year as local health experts suggested there should no mass gathering to control the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said.

The mayor said over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) 87.5 on Friday that while “conventions” do not fall within the meaning of “extravagant celebrations,” which are prohibited under Executive Order (EO) No. 25, declaring a period of mourning and vigilance from April 17 to December 31, 2020, local health authorities have been suggesting to cancel all mass gatherings to avoid the transmission of the highly contagious disease.

Overpass message in Davao CIty: stay home. Employees of essential businesses including healthcare workers have to walk as public transportation is very limited – no jeepneys are allowed – under an enhanced community quarantine. MindaNews photo taken 15 April 2020 by MANMAN DEJETO

“That depends on the control measures of the doctors if they say no mass gathering, then definitely there will be no conventions. No more MICECon. I think we can already expect that from the doctors because that’s what they require since Day 1 — no mass gathering,” Duterte said.

Slated for September 28 to 30, 2020, the MICECon 2020 is expected to draw in around 500 participants from all over the Philippines.

Last year, the city won the hosting rights for MICECon 2020, which would boost the tourism push of the local government to position itself as the MICE capital of the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area.

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is the organizer of the MICECon, which serves as a platform for MICE stakeholders to “learn from global experts new trends, approaches, methods and insights as well as draw inspiration and energy from their message to reach and fulfill new heights for the Philippine MICE and Tourism Industry.”

A view of Davao City from the rooftop of the Ateneo de Davao University.  MindaNews photo by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

According to its website, the TPB, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, markets and promotes “the Philippines domestically and internationally as a world-class tourism and MICE destination, in strategic partnership with private and public stakeholders to deliver a unique high-value experience for visitors, significantly contributing to increased arrivals, receipts and investments to the country.”

In EO No. 26 released on April 16, Duterte extended the implementation of the 15-day enhanced community quarantine, which took effect from April 4 to April 19, for another seven days or until April 26.

Section 2 provides that the city government might reinstate the implementation of simple community quarantine on April 27, upon approval of the medical specialists.  (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)