SMX Manila celebrates decade of MICE growth

Flagship venue embodies the rapid expansion of the Philippine meetings and events industry, writes Rommel Araza





IT’S a big year ahead for the SMX Convention Center in Manila. In 2017, the venue celebrates its 10th anniversary as the nation’s “largest privately-owned meetings and conventions facility”. It also embodies the dramatic expansion of the Philippine MICE sector over the past decade. Today, the SMX Convention Center brand is a portfolio of seven properties across the Philippines, and with another three venues due to open in 2019.

“Propelled by the growing number of local and foreign attendees of MICE events in the country, the SMX Manila has carved a name for itself with its proximity and its one-stop-shop service,” the company says. Indeed, SMX Manila has a strong events pitch – it’s next to the SM Mall of Asia, a public transport terminal, and can be a 20-minute drive from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, if the traffic’s right. The venue also has a connecting bridge to the new Conrad Manila, which has just accommodated 86 Miss Universe contestants and their entourages, this week.

The flagship SMX Manila (above and left) celebrates its 10th birthday with four halls that can house 10,000 people; five function rooms and 15 smaller meeting rooms with 17,480 square meters of leasable space.
“Some of the biggest events taking place here this year are the Getting Married Bridal Fair, and the Miss Universe’s Governor’s Ball and Red Carpet Night [below],” SMX says. “Then there’s the 24th Travel Tour Expo, this month, and next month’s 6th Philippine International Furniture Show.”

In 2012, SMX Convention Center expanded with SMX Davao, and revealed the group’s commitment to keeping events within delegates’ walking distance of hotels and shops. All SMX properties beyond the standalone Manila flagship are strategically situated inside premier malls, “which easily provides foot traffic for public events”, the company says.

SMX Davao (below) is on the third level of the SM Lanang Premier mall, with a gross floor area of 7,835sqm. The venue has three fully-carpeted function rooms that can accommodate more than 5,000 people, and looks great for association conventions.
“Its five meeting rooms can hold up to 230 guests,” SMX adds. “Some notable events held here in the last four years include World Food Expo Mindanao (WOFEX), Manufacturing Technology Davao, Davao Trade Expo, Hariraya Eid’l Fitr and Sulong Pilipinas.”

SMX Aura became the SMX Convention Center brand’s third property in the following year. Located on the third and fourth levels of SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City, in Taguig, it has three fully-carpeted function rooms, eight meeting rooms (right) and 3,137sqm of leasable space.
“It can easily accommodate more than 2,000 guests in its function rooms, or hold a private event for 10 to 230 guests in its meeting rooms,” an SMX spokesman says. “Culinaire, ManilaArt Fair, the yearly BDO Travel Fair and the launch of Google Philippines are just some of the events that took place in SMX Aura.”

SMX Bacolod was launched in 2014 and became the leader in the Negros Island Region’s local and foreign MICE events, as well as a choice venue for corporate and social functions. SMX Bacolod (left) answered local professional event organizers’ concerns, SMX says.
“The venue has a gross floor area of 8,218sqm on the third floor of the SM City Bacolod, [and] is big enough to house an audience of up to 5,000, or can flexibly focus on small private meetings for 10,” the spokesman says. “SMX Bacolod hosted the MICECON 2016; the Disaster Risk Finance – APEC Roadmap for Resilient Economies Meeting, the annual Bacolod Auto Show and MassKara Festival.”

The Megatrade Hall and Cebu Trade Hall are “true pioneers in the Philippine MICE industry for more than two decades and counting – since 1992 and 1994 respectively”, SMX says. Megatrade Hall (below) hosts annual Department of Trade and Industry trade fairs, bridal fairs and job fairs for the past 25 years, the company says.

“It has also consistently been the setting for toys and collectibles fairs, sports and lifestyle events and annual retail sale events, such as Shoes and Bags Sale or Christmas Warehouse Sale,” SMX tells MICE News Philippines. “Its sister hall, Cebu Trade Hall is a perpetual venue to big expo events such as World Food Exhibition Visayas (WOFEX), Cebu Food and Beverage Exhibition (CEFBEX) and the Philippine Building and Construction Exhibition (PHILBEX).

The latest SMX property, Sky Hall Seaside Cebu, was opened for the city’s social and corporate events. Located at SM Seaside City Cebu’s Sky Park, and across the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod, the venue has two halls with a combined leasable space of 1,280sqm. Its outdoor Sky Garden, “provides a refreshing view of the mountains, and is a perfect backdrop” for wedding receptions, debuts and cocktail parties, SMX says.

“Having a second events venue in a growing city like Cebu, will only reinforce our company’s commitment to have a presence in key Philippine gateway cities,” says SMX vice-president and general manager, Walid Wafik. “Three more properties are in the pipeline with over 32,000sqm of leasable space: SMX South Road Properties Cebu; SMX Clark and Events Place San Fernando, in 2019.”

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