Demand for domestic destination drives Philtoa travel fair

September 7, 2017 at 12:30

Demand for domestic destination drives Philtoa travel fair

Domestic travel still accounted for majority of the sales of the exhibitors at the 28th Philippine Travel Mart (PTM) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, last weekend.

In an interview with the BusinessMirror, Cesar Cruz, president of the Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa), which mounts the annual PTM, said: “In terms of sales, Boracay would still be the leading destination. Based on [the clients’] wish list, the most requested destinations are Batanes, Coron, El Nido, and Siargao.”

As of 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, sales generated from the PTM reached P162 million, still P18-million shy of Philtoa’s sales target this year. But Cruz stressed, “We hope to reach our target as we tally the last remaining sales reports.” He explained that there were private exhibitors, which joined the provincial and regional pavilions, but failed to submit their sales reports as of press time. In the PTM 2016, sales generated by Philtoa’s exhibitors reached P180 million.

Over 200 exhibitors, up from last year’s 175, offered a wide variety of travel options at bargain prices at this year’s three-day PTM, which opened on September 1. The event was copresented by the Department of Tourism (DOT), and carried the theme “50 Shades of Fun at Visit Asean 50”. The popular travel fair occupied four halls at the SMX Convention Center with a total exhibition floor area of 9,130 square meters (sq m).

“We had 32 pavilions this year, measuring 36 sq m to 54 sq m, compared to last year where we only had 27 pavilions,” Cruz added.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo said at the travel fair’s opening ceremony: “The theme ‘50 Shades of Fun’ highlights the wide spectrum of attraction and activities that the Philippines has to offer. With the help of all tourism stakeholders, we have successfully diversified our tourism product offerings from the typical sun-sea-sand to ecotourism, cultural heritage tourism, food tourism, MICE [meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions], cruise, and more.” Her message was read by Assistant Secretary Malou Japson.

PTM’s “Sale ng Bayan” offered “book and buy” promotional holiday packages, one-time promotional deals on international and domestic airfares, accommodation and other tourism- related services.

“More important, our continued partnership [with private tourism stakeholders] has enabled us to develop new tourism destinations, such as Batanes, Surigao del Sur and Siquijor. This has become instrumental in spreading the economic and social benefits of tourism to the countryside,” the DOT chief added.

In an interview with Teo last year, she said the weak peso would “keep Filipinos closer to home” during their holiday travels, and attract more foreigners to come to the Philippines. “A weak peso makes it more expensive for Filipinos to travel abroad,” she noted. According to the National Tourism Development Plan for 2016-2022, visitors to domestic destinations are projected to reach 73.3 million in 2017, up 4 percent from the
estimated 70.5 million last year. This year’s PTM featured
Asean+3 offerings with special airfares and vacation packages to any Asean destination + 3, namely China, Japan and Korea.

“Allow me to also laud your initiative to twinning Asean destinations with your tour packages, in line with the 50th year anniversary of Asean, as this will allow us to grab a slice of the huge tourism market in the region,” Teo noted. The DOT secretary had signed several tourism-cooperation agreements with  Asean neighbors Thailand and Cambodia, as well as  China.

For his part, Cruz said they started offering Asean tours three years ago, and added China, Japan and Korea this year in support of the Asean cooperation with the three countries.

During the travel fair, there were several cultural shows featuring the Eco Chorale and other performers, as well as competitions such as Harana ng Kundiman (kundiman singing contest), Patimpalak ng Kasuotang Pilipino (Native Filipino Costume contest), Cultural Dance Competition and the Philippine Tourism Quiz Bee Finals.


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