More hotels and other accomodation facilities are needed to cater to the growing number of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) visitors in Iloilo City, Department of Tourism (DOT-6) Director Helen J. Catalbas said on Thursday, Oct. 17.

The DOT recently launched its campaign that aims to position Iloilo City as the country’s premier MICE destination.

A concerted effort is “important” to lure more investors to put up more accomodation facilities in the city, said Catalbas during the opening of SPACES by Eco Hotel on JM Basa Street, City Proper Thursday afternoon.

“We need more rooms. The plain field is still open for more hotel investments,” she stressed.

At present, the city, according to Catalbas, “only has a little bit more than four thousand rooms.”

“If there are conventions and events simultaneously going on in the city, we do not have the room capacity to cater to all the participants,” she said.

Catalbas said two companies have already signified their interest to build convention centers in the city.

These are bigger than the existing Iloilo Convention Center which has a seating capacity of 3,700, according to Catalbas.

The regional director said physical structures should be put in place first.

“I believe we should build first before they (visitors) come. Because if they do an inventory of our capacity and we cannot be at par with what they expect, they will not come,” Catalbas said.

Last year, the city welcomed 1, 241,010 local and foreign tourists, higher by 15 percent compared to 2017’s 1,076,976.

“We have noticed that unlike the pr“We have noticed that unlike the previous year wherein the peak of tourist arrivals was January to February due to festivals here, in 2018, the peak months were April, November, and December. This shows that people do not only come here because of festivals, but because we are the venue for MICE,” said City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia. IMT

PHOTO CREDITS: Randy Javier Fadrigo