April 20, 2021
Second year events management students (TME 201) of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM) successfully produced and organized the virtual HAU MICE Conference 2021 with the theme “The Promise of the Philippine Tourism in the Better Normal: Mabuhay! Ito ang gusto mo!”, streamed live at the SHTM Facebook page last March 25. The said event was attended by more than a thousand of students from various schools, colleges, and universities in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, NCR, and representatives from hospitality and tourism organizations in the region. The said event was in line with the requirements of CMICE class and the academic thrust and commitment of SHTM in producing quality events for the community.
With the success of the virtual conference, a second installment of the HAU MICE Conference is set on April 29, 2021. More registrants are expected by the organizing team based from the positive reception of the audience since the first session. Products and services that are timely in making domestic tourism safe for everyone are set to be discussed, with focus on heritage and culture travel and tourism, virtual tourist guiding, and best practices on island destinations and business MICE events.
The first installment of HAU MICE Conference 2021 featured three resource speakers and trainers in the region who discussed various products and services, considered COVID-safe, which travelers and visitors may avail in the slow resumption of domestic tourism. Ms. Chriselle May Yambao, operations supervisor of Department of Tourism (DOT) Region III, shared updates on Philippine tourism and culinary tourism as a safer product on the new normal; Ms. Maria Lucille Galang, Filipino Brand of Service (FBS) trainer and founder of APEX training and consultancy, delivered the topic “The Filipino brand in delivering a safe and reliable service”; and completing the roster of speakers was Mr. Keneth Caoile De Gracia, tourism operations officer of DOT Region IV A, who shared his knowledge on farm tourism as a palatable and safe tourism activity in the new normal. SHTM Dean, Dr. Tyron W. Yap, delivered the opening remarks while TME 201 adviser and conference director, Dr. Jay A. Aquino, moderated the event.
The free regional conference aimed to cater to the needs of the students and industry to better understand the recovery measures from the pandemic. Based from tourism researches and webinar sessions with DOT, the team created various themes for tourism products and activities which were safe for guests, visitors, tourist guides, and tourism stakeholders in general during the pandemic. These tourism products, services, and activities are now being implemented in some of the selected destinations across the Philippines in response for the safe recovery of domestic tourism.
The MICE Conference 2021 is overcoming various challenges in producing event that are once face to face since the true nature of MICE and events in general are all about experience. One of the challenges is the limitation of the organizers with funds and resources to stage a regional event but in the joint efforts of SHTM and private individuals made the event rise above the situation.