WTCA cites importance of MICE sector to Philippine, regional economic growth

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) highlighted the significant contributions of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry to the growth of the Philippine economy, as it continues to collaborate with the local World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) to promote regional trade and cross-border investments through various global events and programs.

In a recent visit to the WTCMM office and exhibition facilities in Pasay City, Scott Wang, WTCA Vice President, Asia Pacific, explained that the WTCA is working closely with its members and partners in countries such as the Philippines, to strengthen international cooperation and generate investment opportunities by leveraging on its global connectivity and leading trade services capabilities.

“Serving as the local business hub that is linked to the WTCA global network, individual WTC operations provide companies around the world with the expertise and connections that are critical for market penetration. The WTC teams also work diligently to match the needs of companies with the best service providers in their respective local marketplaces,” said Mr. Wang.

“With the WTCA’s ‘Road to 500’ initiative that aims to revitalize for the future and expand our current global Membership base to 500 members over the next decade, we see Southeast Asia as one of the priority markets for us to reach our goal of further growing our footprint and contributing to the prosperity of the region,” Mr. Wang added.

Pamela D. Pascual, Chairman and CEO of WTCMM, and Chair of the WTCA’s Asia Pacific Regional Advisory Council (RAC), echoed the MICE industry’s role in jumpstarting the flow of local products, attracting foreign investments and generating local employment through major trade shows, exhibitions, and networking events.

“We continue to host major industry events at the WTCMM, where local businesses successfully connect with their foreign counterparts and buyers from abroad through our partnerships with other WTC businesses across Asia and beyond. Further, we have plans to expand in other locations within the country to support WTCA’s ‘Road to 500’ initiative. In these cases, the benefits of the WTCA’s global network in promoting international trade are optimized,” said Ms. Pascual.

In their analysis of the Global Impact of Exhibitions released in 2023, Union des Foires Internationales (UFI) and Oxford Economics found that as early as 2019, exhibitions had already generated US$82.3 billion of direct GDP and more than 1.4 million direct jobs in 2019.

Of these totals, the Asia Pacific region ranked third behind North America and Europe with US$17.6 billion in direct GDP, supporting 394,000 direct jobs.

The UFI also noted in last year’s Trade Fair Industry in Asia report that all key exhibition markets across Asia recorded remarkable recovery in 2023, with China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Hong Kong accounting for more than 80% of net space sold in the region. Further growth is forecasted this year.

“We expect the Asia Pacific MICE industry to gain even more momentum in the next few months, with WTCMM maintaining its position among the region’s leading players,” said Mr. Wang.

WTCMM is the only exhibition center in the Philippines to be recognized by the UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, as a world-class exhibition venue, serving the discriminating needs of show organizers. It recently received the 2024 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) MICE Venue Award in the Exhibition Venue Category of the ASEAN Tourism Standards Awards for Excellence.