Philippines eases meeting rules

MANILA, 7 December 2020: Easing some rules on who can gather for domestic meetings should help the country’s events business speed up recovery according to the Philippines Department of Tourism.

The MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) sector gained some encouragement at the weekend as the national government moved to allow more types of indoor business meetings in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

“The DOT deems this latest development as very encouraging for the country’s MICE sector to spur forward and backward linkages in tourism and other sectors concerned. While the pandemic has taught organizers to embrace technology, some gatherings in a physical set-up can now proceed, with health and safety protocols in place,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told the Philippines News Agency.

“We are optimistic that the country’s MICE sector will start to thrive again, with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in crafting the implementing guidelines,” she added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) signed Resolution No. 87, last week, allowing MICE events to convene in restaurants, hotel function halls, mall atria, and venues within hotel premises, which are not used as quarantine facilities.

But the venue capacity will be capped at 30% of its normal capacity.

According to the DOT, the following types of business meetings will be allowed: workshops, training, seminars, congresses, conferences, conventions, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia and consumer trade shows.

However, the new rule does not apply to political gatherings, cultural festivities, sporting events, product launches, and social events like birthdays, weddings, Christmas and office parties, pageants, award events, and gala receptions are still not allowed.

The DOT and DTI were tasked to formulate and release specific guidelines, but local government units may issue additional measures providing for stricter protocols among venues within their jurisdiction.

“The DOT shall continuously work on improving our guidelines and policies, making sure that these remain responsive to the changing needs of the industry, as the COVID-19 situation continues to be addressed,” Puyat said.

Source: PNA

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