Following the success of a hybrid expo in Bohol, tourism may gradually open to weddings, and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition (MICE) activities using event-specific protocols, with the province as the pilot .
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said at the post- Philippine Travel Exchange (Phitex) last Saturday, the province may open before Christmas with curated tours. Do-it-yourself tours will not be allowed..
Yap noted that weddings, office team events and MICE are easy to handle for reopening with the use of chartered flights.
Yap said Bohol has a number of properties that can accommodate tourists, including Bellevue in Panglao where Phitex was held last Sept. 22 to 25.
“Properties can now come together, charge their flights together. Without having to open commercial operations, there is a way to get tourism going and still control the safety,” Yap said.
He added: “Everybody said MICE cannot be held.
But we were able to show in Phitex that MICE can be undertaken… We also learned if everybody declares their medical record and stays true to their declaration, and the two-, three-day PCR lab test is actually genuine and authentic and you’re honest enough to declare our condition.
The scheme, called bubble within the bubble, is a point to point, end-to-end service for tourists through accredited tour operators.
“MICE has mass scale and though it involves bigger groups, is be easier to handle than opening the entire island or entire Panglao to just anybody who wants to come in,” he said.
Phitex was the first hybrid event where physical and virtual business-to-business meetings were done. It also served as a pilot for local government units which may consider hosting similar events in the future.
At the Phitex,122 foreign buyers from 34 countries participated in a series of virtual activities, from webinars and tours to meetings with 345 seller-delegates from 161 tourism enterprises and groups across the country. Select participants also joined actual tours around the province.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said based on partial data as of September 26, Phitex is expected to generate P 4.5 million in revenue, out of the 32 bookings generated and 367 leads generated (with a success rate of 66 percent).