Ilonggo senator Franklin Drilon. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN “It has a strategic and accessiblelocation – Iloilo has major connections to domestic destinations and directlinks to Singapore and Hong Kong,” Drilon./PN In 2017 and 2018, Iloilo hosted atotal of 46,000 participants in various meetings, conventions, trade fairs andexhibits. And for the first half of 2019, the Iloilo Convention Center was hostto almost 80,000 MICE participants, he added. Promoting Iloilo as a MICE center isexpected to contribute significantly to Western Visayas’ development, too, saidDrilon. She added, “Hindi lang masarap ang pagkain but there are so many places tovisit.” Drilon said he is confident that thecampaign will succeed, saying that Iloilo has all the makings of an excellentMICE destination. ILOILO City – Iloilo as a MICE(Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) hub is seen open moreopportunities to further boost the local tourism industry, drive investmentsand development, and create jobs. Iloilo has contributed significantlyto the attainment of Western Visayas of its high regional Gross DomesticProduct (GDP) growth rates in the last five years. The region’s GDP grew by 9.4percent in 2015; 8.4 percent in 2016; 10.4 percent in 2017; and 6.1 percent in2018. “It is one of the few cities in thecountry that could host large-size conventions such as the Asia-PacificEconomic Cooperation and Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits,”Drilon said. “It will significantly contribute tothe economy and in the process, improve the lives of our people,” according toIlonggo senator Franklin Drilon who graced yesterday’s launching of the “Meetyou in Iloilo” MICE campaign at the Iloilo Convention Center in Mandurriaodistrict. It aims to draw more tourists, businessvisitors and exhibitors to Iloilo City. For her part, Tourism secretaryBernadette Romulo-Puyat said, “What makes Iloilo City a unique MICE destinationis its rich in history, heritage and culture providing enriching experiences todelegates, and adding value to their stay.” Iloilo’s hospitality industry is alsobooming as the tourist arrivals in the province have doubled in the last fiveyears, from 627,000 in 2013 to 1.24 million in 2018, according to Drilon. The P50-million campaign includes abasket of incentives, promotions and related tourism packages in partnershipwith various tourism stakeholders.