CLARK CATCHES MICE ‘FEVER’
BCDA, DOT bare plans to develop biggest convention center in PHL
THE Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to develop the Clark Freeport in Pampanga as a major MICE (meetings, incentive tours, conventions, exhibitions) destination.
“The idea for Clark is to become a major MICE player in the region, since we have our own airport. Everything is 5-10 minutes away from the airport,” said BCDA president and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio “Vince” B. Dizon in an interview with the BusinessMirror.
Dizon added he is closely working with Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat to design a master plan that will revolve around the construction of a major convention center. “That will be a major driver of MICE in Clark. Once we build that convention center, we’re [also] going to attract more hotels,” he said.
The biggest in PHL
ALREADY in the design process, the convention center will span 5 hectares or 50,000 square meters, and will be close to the Clark International Airport, said Dizon.
He declined to say how much the convention center will cost pending the completion of the design. But he said, “We want to complete it before the term of the President ends. We’re starting the designing process already now, so I think we can build it in two years.” While BCDA will construct it, the operations and maintenance of the center will likely be bidded out to the private sector, said Dizon.
There are no major convention sites in Clark, but the SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. is currently building one beside its Park Inn by Radisson Clark hotel. Estimated to cost P835 million, the new SMX convention center will have 4,000 sqm of leasable space and is targeted to open by the second quarter of 2020.
Using SMX’s estimates, BCDA’s new convention center would cost at least P10.4 billion for a 50,000sqm space.
New project in NCC
THE BCDA chief also gave an update on the developments in New Clark City (NCC), a major metropo
‘It’s roughly 5 times [the size of] the SMX Convention Center in Manila. It will be the biggest convention center in the country. What we’re gonna build is something that will compete with Suntec of Singapore, or the Shanghai Convention Center, or the convention center in Hong Kong… [and is designed] for international and regional events.”
—BCDA president and CEO Vivencio “Vince” B. Dizon lis development in Tarlac City spanning 9,450 ha. He said the agency just signed a contract with the Hann Development Corp., a unit of the Widus Group of South Korea, for a “P12-billion to P15-billion” resort development in NCC.
“This will be for a luxury mountain resort [to be managed by] Banyan Tree. This will be the first Banyan Tree resort in the country, which is slated to open in two-anda-half years,” said Dizon. The development will also include the Accor
Group’s Angsana hotel brand, and “the boutique luxury chain of Marriot.” The luxury brands of Marriot include St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, Edition and the JW Marriott brands.
Widus is the owner of the Marriot Hotel in Clark and the Widus Hotel and Casino.
“The first phase [of the development] is when they open the Angsana Hotel. But Banyan Tree is building villas for long-term lease. This is all part of the first phase until 2022. This, [including the industrial park of Filinvest Development Corp.], will build the critical mass to attract more locators and visitors to NCC,” he stressed.
The industrial park broke ground in May and will open its first factory in 2020. The park will have factories focused on light industry, semiconductors information technology, and light manufacturing. “No heavy industries are allowed,” said Dizon.
Filinvest has said it would be investing P20 billion in its NCC projects in the next five years.