POST EVENT REPORT: 46th GA at WTC Metro Manila

May 17, 2015

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The 2015 WTCA General Assembly, held April 27-30 in Manila, Philippines, drew 160 WTC Participants from 86 WTCs, and approximately an additional 50 Philippine business delegates.

The 46th Annual General Assembly (GA), titled “Better Together: Global Unity & Cooperation”, featured three days of intense networking, education, and collaboration with WTC Colleagues and the Filipino business community. Attendees left the event with a greater understanding of the Philippines as an international business destination, and with increased connections with fellow WTCs for future cooperation. 

Post 2015 GA satisfaction ratings concluded very favorably, with 91% of attendants "very satisfied" or "satisfied".

According to your survey results, the most useful sessions were:

  • WTC Speed Networking
  • WTCA Board of Directors Elections
  • WTCA Plenary Session
  • WTC Innovation Exchange

The most valuable aspect for the GA attendees was the extensive networking opportunities. Many members expressed gratitude for WTC Metro Manila’s excellent organization of the event and warm hospitality.


The General Assembly started off Sunday night on a high note - literally - with some spontaneous karaoke at a poolside Welcome Reception at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, where WTC Delegates donned all white attire and celebrated the beginning of the conference against the backdrop of a beautiful Manila Bay sunset. Little did we know that the WTCA had such talent like WTCMM President Rommel Leuterio, a quartet featuring WTC Istanbul, WTC San Marino and WTC Sao Paulo crooners, and some of the WTCA staff. 

PHOTOS: GA Welcome Reception


Unique to this General Assembly was the announcement of the new 2015 WTCA Board of Directors. In this year’s election, eleven new Board Members were voted in, and three incumbent Board Members were re-elected. The new Board of Directors held their first introductory meeting while in Manila, and will meet again this coming June in London. 

ARTICLE: Board Election Results


Located in the massive World Trade Center Metro Manila exhibition facility, the Opening Ceremony immersed WTC Delegates in Filipino culture. Traditional dancers entertained and led the attendees into the main hall, followed by a performance by the University of Santo Thomas singers. WTCMM Chairman Guillermo Luchango gave welcome remarks focused on why the General Assembly taking place in Manila comes at an important time for the country, as the Philippines is in high gear attracting investors and businesses from around the world. WTCA Chairman Ghazi Abu Nahl emphasized the importance of interaction and communication amongst WTC Members during his welcome remarks. 

A panel of high-level economic experts then presented the Philippine Economic Briefing, touching on important initiatives such as the Public Private Partnership and answering questions from the audience regarding the economic climate of the Philippines. 

  • Coco Alcuaz, Head of Business News, ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)
  • Francisco Dakila Jr., Director, Center for Monetary & Financial Policy, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipina
  • Bien A. Ganapin, Assistant Director, National Economic and Development Authority
  • Eleazar Ricote, Deputy Executive Director, Public Private Partnership

VIDEO: Philippine Economic Briefing - Asia's Tiger


In this highly requested session by WTCA Members, four panelists representing government and financial sectors provided information on investment policy and laws; how to register with government offices; taxation considerations; labor laws; and more. 

  • Veredigno P. Atienza, General Manager & CEO, Philippine Retirement Authority
  • Maria Lourdes T. Baua, President & CEO, Philippine International Trading Corporation
  • Cirilo P. Noel, Chairman & Managing Partner, SGV & Co.
  • Veronica A. Santos, Transaction Tax Partner & Principal, SGV & Co.


The first keynote speaker, Ismael August S. Gozon, Senior Vice President of Philippine Airlines (PAL), led the discussion on tourism and economic growth by explaining the important role of PAL and air travel in stimulating the Philippine economy. Expanding their network of flights gives Filipino businesses greater access to markets, encourages exports, and also links other countries to the Philippines for both business and pleasure.

Shortly thereafter, speaker Domingo Ramon C. Enerio, Chief Operating Officer of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPB) enlightened our audience on why “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”, discussing the development of this highly successful marketing campaign and giving insights on the future of Philippines tourism.

VIDEO: Visit the Philippines 2015


A General Assembly first: a fast-paced speed networking session with quick, 6-minute conversations between WTC executives stimulated introductions and paved the way for future collaboration. This speed networking session was well received by delegates, ranking as the most useful session of the conference, as they valued the opportunity to “break the ice” and meet new WTC colleagues from different regions and sectors early on in the GA event. 



WTCA Management and Board Members presented updates in the areas of Finance, Legal, and Member Services. The WTCA Marketing team performed a live demo of the newly launched Reciprocity Desk, a tool designed for WTCs to easily and efficiently reach out to fellow WTCs for collaboration requests. To learn more about the Reciprocity Desk, contact us at

Full presentations from the WTCA Plenary Session, as well as the audited Financial Statements, can be found on the Resource Center under the category “General Assembly”. 


After fourteen Board seats were filled in the 2015 Election, attendees were given the opportunity to meet and engage with both new and incumbent Board Members during these concurrent sessions by region: AMERICAS, ASIA PACIFIC, and EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA.



This Member-driven session featured revenue-generating products and services used by individual World Trade Centers, and showed how they can be leveraged and adapted for other WTCs. The Innovation Exchange featured representatives from: 

  • WTC Cyprus: “Made in Cyprus” Traveling Exhibition
  • WTC Denver: “Finding a Body for the Soul” Facilities Value Proposition
  • WTC The Hague/Leeuwarden: WTCs as Part of the Office of Trade & Investment Structure
  • WTC Istanbul: Futurallia and WTCs
  • WTC Lille: “Win-Win” Strategic Partnerships
  • WTC Marseille Provence: Cowork’in WTCMP
  • WTC Milano: Think or Re-Think New and Existing Venues
  • WTC Santiago: Trade Education Model
  • WTC SĂŁo Paulo: WTC SĂŁo Paulo Business Club



At the close of the General Assembly, Head of Trade Finance for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Steven Beck gave insight into the opportunities created by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Mr. Beck discussed how ASEAN’s collaboration with the ADB has helped mobilize the region’s savings and foreign exchange reserves, and how their continued work has narrowed the development gap and enhanced connectivity.


The 46th General Assembly will be remembered for the highly experienced presenters and unique networking opportunities, but most notably for the warm hospitality and generosity of our Host, World Trade Center Metro Manila and the Filipino people. From the moment WTC Delegates were greeted at the airport by friendly, smiling faces of the WTCMM team, attendees felt that they were not only in Manila to increase their network of business contacts and to further their knowledge of international business, but also to understand first hand why “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”.

The WTCA Board and Team extend their sincere gratitude to the World Trade Center Metro Manila for an outstanding and memorable General Assembly.

VIDEO: Closing Ceremony Wrap-Up