September 9, 2014

PHITEX 2014 was launched, emphasizes "travel with a purpose"

The 13th Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX), organized by the Department of Tourism and Promotions Board was formally launched at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City last Thursday, September 5, 2014 attended by tourism attachés, VIP’s, 198 foreign buyers and 200 local sellers.

“PHITEX strengthens our tourism industry by nurturing relationships between our very own players and the range of businesses found throughout the world,” TPB Chief Operating Officer Domingo Ramon Enerio said.

The Tourism Promotion Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism, plans to push the 'It's More Fun in the Philippines' campaign even further as part of its five-point communication strategy for the coming year. Enerio described 'It's More Fun' as "a very strategic part" of their campaign to boost tourism in the country.

The Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) provides a venue for sellers of Philippine tourism products to engage top international buyers in business negotiations. 

It also continues to be the Department of Tourism’s and the Tourism Promotions Board’s aggressive effort to boost the country’s position in the global market as a top tourist destination. 

In support of these objectives this year, PHITEX buyers will not only have pre and post event tours to key Philippine Destinations but even more so, implement tour programs with socio-ecological thrusts. 

Enerio encouraged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity to build lasting relationships among each other for the continued attainment of Philippine travel and tourism. The Philippine tourism sector is poised to ride even bigger waves next year as the Asean integration is set to roll out.

This year’s theme, “Innovate and Integrate, Empower and Engage” highlights not only the distinctively fun nature of the archipelago and the Filipino people, but also leverages on sustainable travel through the incorporation of responsible social tourism activities in post-confab tours.

(L-R) From First Distric of Bohol Cong. Rene Lopez Relampagos, Tourism Assistant Secretary Benito C. Bengzon Jr. and Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operationg Officer Domingo Ramon C. Enero III

As it emphasizes "travel with a purpose" PHITEX 2014 reinforces DOT’s targeted 6.8 million foreign visitors in 2014 by expanding their existing transactions in the country, enticing foreign buyers during one-on-one scheduled appointments in the Philippine Travel Exchange.

“Unlike in the past where the post-event tours were primarily for leisure, the 2014 tours are designed with activities that promote sustainability and preservation of environment,” said Tess H. Mauricio, TPB OIC for Marketing and Promotions and PHITEX project director. 

Local tour groups with a purpose

There will be nine tour groups, which include trips to – Manila, Makati and BGC, GK Enchanted Farm (Bulacan), Laoag and Vigan, Tagaytay and Puerta Galera, Puerta Princesa, El Nido, Legazpi and Sorsogon, Boracay, and Cebu and Bohol.

First Distric of Bohol Cong. Rene Lopez Relampagos and Tourism Assistant Secretary Benito C. Bengzon Jr.
The Manila, Makati and BGC tour explores the modern global city and the Makati Central Business District. Guests will also be taken back in time by visiting Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, San Agustin Church and museum in the Walled City of Intramuros.

GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan is the highlight of the second tour group. This is Gawad Kalinga’s platform in promoting social entrepreneurs, helping local farmers and creating alternative employment in the countryside. Guests will survey the various facilities of the farm’s campus, while supporting the different income-generating activities of the area. 

Northern Luzon will take on the spotlight with a cultural and historical tour of Laoag and Vigan. Guests will explore Ilocos Norte and stay at Sitio Remedios, a heritage village resort situated in an 18,000 square meter of land re-creating an Ilocano neighborhood typical of the mid-fifties. The group will also visit Ilocos Sur and will be accommodated in Hotel Luna, located at the heart of the Heritage Village in Vigan City, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Aside from the walking and calesa tour of Vigan, participants will also be treated to a gastronomic culinary journey, after which a tree-planting activity awaits participants at Paoay Lake. For the adventure-seekers, the La Paz Sand Dunes is an added delight. 

The Tagaytay and Puerto Galera tour group will relax in the oasis of Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas, then experience the cold breeze of Tagaytay with a breathtaking aerial view of Taal Volcano. Tai-chi, yoga and the traditional “hilot” massage will also pamper guests at the Nurture Spa Village. One of the highlights of the tour is visiting the Silonay Mangrove Conservation and Eco-tourism Park where guests can explore and understand the vital role of mangrove forests in our country. A visit of the Tamaraw Falls and the Municipal Hall of Puerto Galera follows. 

The clean and green city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan is the destination of the fifth group where they will be welcomed at Hotel Centro, with firefly watching in the evening. Guests will also be amazed with the world-renowned Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2012. Mangrove paddling is another experience for the group as part of the community-based social tourism effort. 

The El Nido tour presents another priceless gem from Palawan. Nestled between a lush four-hectare forest and a calm, shallow lagoon, Lagen Island in El Nido is an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing holiday in a private and tranquil island. The surrounding forest and the breathtaking limestone cliffs are natural attractions that serve as sanctuary for a diverse variety of birds and mammals. Here, guests can observe and delight in wildlife flourishing in their natural habitat. Participants will also be treated to a sunset cruise, kayaking and island hopping. 

The seventh group exhibits the unique offerings of Legazpi and Sorsogon. Accommodation for the delegates is Misibis Bay Resort where they get to choose to ride ATV’s, mountain bikes, dune buggies, segways or a heart-pounding zipline. In Legazpi, the incredible Mayon Skyline and Daraga Church will welcome guests while in Pilar, Sorsogon, they can snorkel at Bantigui Pt. Marine Sanctuary, or engage in harvesting sea grapes and gathering sea urchins in Panalatuan Cove. Swimming at the Panumbagan Sand Bar is also an option.

The white powdery sand and clear blue waters of Asia’s 24/7 island of Boracay mark the eight tour group as delegates will be welcomed at the luxurious Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa. Island hopping and other water sports activities will make it a busy morning for them but the Boracay Foundation coral transplantation efforts, which continuously give shelter and protection to a diverse range of underwater species is a more purposeful activity.

Delegates will appreciate Cebu and Bohol all the more in the ninth leg of tour groups as they explore the historic and natural beauty of Bohol’s countryside. Guests will have an exciting and diverse experience touring the Blood Compact Shrine, Baclayon Church, Chocolate Hills, Loboc River cruise and the Tarsier Sanctuary. Afterwards, Habitat for Humanity will host a social tourism activity geared towards providing shelter to the needy. A short ferry ride brings delegates to Cebu, the Queen City of the South where they will enjoy staying at the Shangri-La Mactan and a heritage tour of the celebrated city follows. 

“We are ecstatic to introduce these new itineraries that uplift Philippine tourism efforts with the incorporation of a holistic outlook. The suitable balance between our environment, the economy and our people’s culture are encouraged in PHITEX pre and post-tours to guarantee long-term sustainability of our industry and ultimately, the nation’s growth,” adds Mauricio. 

PHITEX 2014 is supported by the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Philippine Travel Agencies (PTAA), Hotels Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) and Board of Airlines Representative (BAR) with Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Resorts World Manila. 

PHITEX post tours start September 5, 2014.

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