Phi­tex 2019 draws 150 tourism firms

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE -

More than 150 in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies in the tourism in­dus­try gath­ered in Pasay City last month for the Philip­pine Travel Ex­change (Phi­tex) 2019, the big­gest travel trade event or­ga­nized by the govern­ment for lo­cal tourism stake­hold­ers tar­get­ing the global mar­ket. Led by the Tourism Pro­mo­tions Board, Phi­tex 2019 of­fered mar­ket­ing sem­i­nars and a plat­form for com­pet­i­tive pack­ages pro­mot­ing the coun­try as a top travel des­ti­na­tion.

The Tourism Pro­mo­tions Board (TPB) Philip­pines, the mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tions arm of the De­part­ment of Tourism (DOT), re­cently mounted two of the coun­try’s big­gest events, the Philip­pine Travel Ex­change (PHI­TEX) and the MICE In­vi­ta­tional Buy­ers (MICECONNEC­T) to pro­mote the Philip­pines as a prime tourist des­ti­na­tion for both leisure and MICE (Meet­ings, In­cen­tives, Con­ven­tions, Ex­hi­bi­tions/events). Now on its 18th year, PHI­TEX, touted as the coun­try’s big­gest govern­ment-or­ga­nized travel trade event with 127 sell­ers and 162 buy­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing, aims to fur­ther strengthen the coun­try’s brand im­age with par­tic­i­pants pro­mot­ing com­pet­i­tive tourism pack­ages. The event kicked-off with an ed­u­ca­tional sem­i­nar dis­cussing the new trends in tourism mar­ket­ing as well as mar­ket­ing strate­gies in ma­ture and emerg­ing mar­kets while re­main­ing true to the theme, “Philip­pine Tourism: Trail­blaz­ing Re­spon­si­ble Travel and In­clu­sive Growth”. The sem­i­nar fea­tured re­spectable key­note speak­ers, namely, Thomas Gra­ham, Co-founder of MAD (Make A Dif­fer­ence) Travel, who talked about how sus­tain­able tourism is chang­ing the lives of peo­ple in com­mu­ni­ties; Car­los Mori Ro­driguez, Chief In­no­va­tion Of­fi­cer of EON The Stake­hold­ers Re­la­tions Group, who shared in­sights about the new breed of Over­seas Filipino Work­ers (OFWS) in UAE; and San Jeet, the De­part­ment of Tourism (DOT) Mar­ket Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for In­dia, who dis­cussed the pro­file of the In­dian Mar­ket. Com­plet­ing the ros­ter of speak­ers were Don­ald Patrick Lim, Coun­try Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Dentsu Aegis Net­work Philip­pines, who shared how the dig­i­tal age is chang­ing the tourism land­scape; Mohd Akil Bin Mohd Yu­sof, the Deputy Pres­i­dent of the Malaysian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and Nelly Nuezca Dillera, Deputy Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Philip­pine Trade Train­ing Cen­ter (PTTC), both of whom shared points on how to cater to the Mus­lim mar­ket. The main high­light of the event was the one and a half day busi­ness-to-busi­ness (B2B) ses­sion be­tween for­eign buy­ers and lo­cal sell­ers wherein tourism-re­lated mat­ters were dis­cussed among the par­tic­i­pants and doors were opened for busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties. “PHI­TEX is mounted an­nu­ally as a sup­port for stake­hold­ers in the travel trade in­dus­try,” said TPB COO Marie Venus Tan. “In­stead of work­ing as in­di­vid­ual op­er­a­tors and sell­ers, we pro­vide a plat­form for them to con­nect to hun­dreds of buy­ers from all over the world in one venue, which saves them pre­cious time and money. The event also gives buy­ers a more com­pre­hen­sive view of the dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tions and pack­ages that they can sell to con­sumers, ei­ther as in­di­vid­ual or bun­dled tours.” But it’s not all just busi­ness. Par­tic­i­pants got a taste of the Filipino hos­pi­tal­ity at the wel­come din­ner where they were treated to a fes­tive cel­e­bra­tion that show­cased how the Philip­pines is not only tra­di­tional in cul­ture and her­itage but also mod­ern and pro­gres­sive as ex­pe­ri­enced through lo­cal cui­sine and del­i­ca­cies like ba­lut, pal­abok, and the fresh­est seafood dishes. Wel­com­ing guests at the din­ner re­cep­tion was no less than DOT Sec­re­tary Ber­nadette Ro­mulo-puyat. “Both the DOT and TPB are re­lent­lessly work­ing to en­sure that ev­ery vis­i­tor, whether for leisure or busi­ness, is given the best pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence here in our coun­try,” said Sec­re­tary Puyat in her open­ing re­marks. “We be­gan with the DOT web­site, im­prov­ing it to make it a one-stop shop for all tourism-re­lated in­for­ma­tion, prod­ucts, and ac­tiv­i­ties to help tourists who are still plan­ning their vis­its, as well as those who are al­ready here, but would need ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion.” With DOT and TPB’S ef­forts to make the coun­try a MICE des­ti­na­tion, she also added, “Just re­cently, we have launched Iloilo City as a prime MICE des­ti­na­tion with its well-equipped Iloilo Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, which adds the City of Iloilo to the list of Mice-ready des­ti­na­tions through­out the coun­try.” This year, the Philip­pines is also strength­en­ing its cam­paign for sus­tain­able tourism in which lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are em­pow­ered and in­spired to de­velop their own au­then­tic, unique, and fun at­trac­tions, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the so­cial, eco­nomic, and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. “To­day, we wit­ness a shift in the tourism par­a­digm, a shift to mo­ti­va­tional tourism where in­ter­est is the driver— from one that is fo­cused on the tan­gi­ble as­pects of des­ti­na­tions to one that is fo­cused on the in­tan­gi­ble: the peo­ple, the cul­ture and her­itage, life­style, his­tory, gas­tron­omy, folk­lores, myths, art and crafts, etc.,” shared COO Tan. And with very aus­pi­cious times for the coun­try show­ing a 14 per­cent in­crease of for­eign tourist ar­rivals and reach­ing the 5.5 mil­lion mark, she en­cour­aged in­dus­try stake­hold­ers and tour op­er­a­tors to tar­get high spenders and of­fer them op­ti­mal ex­pe­ri­ence to ex­tend their stay. “This ex­pe­ri­en­tial tourism jour­ney is hap­pen­ing in most key des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try where there is a pro­nounced in­dige­nous cul­ture that could be of­fered as a key ex­pe­ri­en­tial and im­mer­sive tourism prod­uct. Our pres­ence here to­day, there­fore, calls for a more sen­sory ap­proach to tourism – a move­ment I call RISE, which stands for Re­spon­si­ble, In­clu­sive, Sus­tain­able and Eq­ui­table tourism, wherein the main goal is to en­sure the Philip­pine story is driven by that ex­pe­ri­en­tial im­mer­sive con­text.” The event capped off with par­tic­i­pants be­ing treated to cu­rated tours in select des­ti­na­tions like Bi­col, Sa­gada, Ilo­cos, Palawan, Bo­ra­cay, Davao, Cebu, Batan­gas, Ta­gay­tay and Iloilo. Through the Philip­pine Travel Ex­change and the ef­forts of its par­tic­i­pants who are pas­sion­ate and un­yield­ing in of­fer­ing and pro­mot­ing unique, mean­ing­ful, and im­mer­sive tours, the Philip­pines is well on its way to be­com­ing the top-of-mind des­ti­na­tion for both leisure and MICE.

Tourism Pro­mo­tions Board Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer, Marie Venus Tan, wel­comes del­e­gates and par­tic­i­pants of PHI­TEX 2019 at the Mar­riott Grand Ball­room, Pasay City.

PHI­TEX buy­ers get­ting ready for a tour of the Un­der­ground River in Palawan

DOT Sec­re­tary Ber­nadette Ro­mulo-puyat wel­comes guests at the din­ner re­cep­tion.

Thomas Gra­ham, Co-founder of MAD (Make A Dif­fer­ence) Travel, talks about sus­tain­able tourism.

PHI­TEX buy­ers en­joy­ing the tour in Siqui­jor and Du­maguete

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