SM group eyes more convention centers

by Kathleen A. Martin,

Posted at May 17 2013 05:11 PM | Updated as of May 18 2013 07:03 AM

SMX convention center

MANILA -- The SM group is looking at building more convention centers in the next three to six years in "key strategic areas," an official said on Friday.

"We're looking at key strategic areas. We already have [some] in NCR (National Capital Region) and we have [one] in Mindanao so we're looking at Visayas and Northern Luzon," Dexter Deyto, vice president and general manager at SMX Convention Specialist Corp., said.

Deyto, whose firm handles the convention centers of the SM group, said a timetable for the expansion plans would be in three to five years time.

"It really depends on the properties available. It's usually an integrated development where we have a mall, a convention center, a hotel... just like MOA (Mall of Asia)," Deyto recounted.

The group has just opened its third SMX Convention Center at SM Aura Premier in Taguig City.

It opened its first convention center in Pasay City (beside the Mall of Asia) in 2007, and its second in Davao last year.

Deyto shared the group caters to a very targeted market, mostly association events and exhibitions.

"Convention market is really targeted. These are corporate, associations, professional event planners and organizers," Deyto said.

"The biggest market, for MOA for example, is really association events and the annual exhibitions such as car shows and travel fairs," he continued.

As early as February, Deyto noted there were already inquiries regarding the availability of the SMX Convention Center Taguig and these events range from association activities to Christmas parties.

At present, his group is eyeing to take a part of the 23rd Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit which will be held in the country in 2015.

Deyto said that together with other hotel and convention center companies, the SM Group was briefed by the departments of foreign affairs and tourism regarding the upcoming summit.

"We are working to be able to provide venues for some of the meetings not only in SMX Manila but also in SMX Davao and probably also here in Taguig," Deyto said.

"That's one of the reasons why we're targeting to have more convention centers by 2015 because there would be a lot of meetings in between... we're anticipating a lot of business opportunities," he added.

The APEC Summit is being mulled to be held in 9 cities in the country, Deyto said, and the meetings are expected to begin as early as January 2015 until the summit itself.

SMX Convention Specialist, which is under SM Investments Corp.'s SM Hotels and Conventions Corp., operates the three SMX Convention Centers, the Megatrade Hall in SM Megamall and the Cebu Trade Hall.