SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. (SMHCC) yesterday opened SMX Convention Center Clark, described as a game changer in the events industry for Central Luzon with its gross leasable space of more than 4,000 sq. m.
“This is truly a welcome addition to what we have here in Clark. We cannot put claim to being the destination of choice if we don’t have a convention center big enough to host local and international events, including MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions],” said Clark Development Corp. vice president Dennis Legaspi.
“SMX Convention Center’s presence in this vibrant district of the North solidifies SMHCC’s unprecedented growth and optimism as Clark Freeport is poised to become the preferred MICE and tourism destination in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030,” said SMHCC Executive Vice President Peggy Angeles.
Clark is fast becoming a preferred destination for the MICE sector, driven by its improving connectivity and growing hospitality industry.
As of last year, Clark’s tourist arrival has neared pre-pandemic levels at 640,353 compared to 721,567 in 2019.
This year, as of end April, tourist arrival has reached 141,228, data from the Department of Tourism showed.
“The idea of coming to the north came around because of the continuous demand of organizers,” said SMHCC Senior Vice President for Operations Walid Wafik.
Wafik said organizers are keen on hybrid events where a limited number of participants would do face-to-face meetings while others would join virtually.
SMX Clark is the second stand-alone convention center after SMX Manila, with two level event venues and a mezzanine floor for offices.
Conveniently located adjacent to Park Inn by Radisson Clark and the flourishing SM City Clark development, the new MICE icon has three trade halls, three function rooms, and 14 smaller meeting rooms.
“SMX Convention Center Clark is the most accessible venue outside of Metro Manila. This is really a game changer,” said Ann Olalo, general manager of Park Inn by Radisson Clark.
The convention center is located within a 16-minute drive from the airport via Manuel Roxas highway and approximately a 20-minute drive via Gil Puyat Clark East Perimeter Road.
Established in 2008, SMHCC is one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia. Its portfolio covers nine hotel properties with a combined inventory of more than 2,200 rooms and over 41,000 sq. m. of leasable convention space.
According to Angeles, an even bigger convention center will be built in Cebu within the next four years.
“It will be even bigger than SMX Manila with 23,000 of leasable space. Cebu will also have an even bigger Mall of Asia complex and an arena that is larger by a thousand seats. There will also be two hotels – one three-star and one four-star,” she said.