International travel agents visit the Philippines for PHITEX 2018

Over 200 top international tour operators and travel agents joined PHITEX 2018

More than 200 travel agents and tour operators visited the Philippines to attend one of the biggest and most significant travel trade events in the country – the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) 2018. Organized by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT), PHITEX 2018 served as a venue for the world’s top travel and tour buyers to meet over 220 local sellers and discuss how best to promote the Philippines as a premier travel destination in Asia.

Held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, PHITEX 2018 is now in its 17th year and aims to contribute more to economic growth and provide more job opportunities for thousands of Filipinos nationwide.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said, “The tourism sector continues to be a key economic driver in the country. It has contributed 12.2% in the country’s GDP in 2017. This has exceeded our target of 10% in 2022 in the national development plan. At the same time, tourism has provided business employment for 5.3 million Filipinos.”

“Last year, PHITEX saw an increase in the number of buyers and first time sellers with business generation computed at Php 2.3 billion, a big leap from 2016 record of Php 1.7 billion,” said TPB Officer-in-Charge Arnold Gonzales.

PHITEX 2018 is slated on the theme, “Tourism is our business: Guarding our Environment, Reliving our Culture.” It kicked off with a pre-tour in Bataan, Laguna, Tagaytay, and Batangas, which featured unique and interesting Philippine culture and heritage.

Highlighting the event was the Travel Exchange (TRAVEX), an exclusive business-to-business appointment between Philippine sellers and international buyers. The foreign travel agents were introduced to the country’s best marketing trends and practices and were able to experience first-hand hand the diversity of the country’s best tourism products and services that they can promote in their home countries. On the other hand, sellers were able to offer globally competitive tour packages to the international market and learn other countries’ trade strategies to apply to their own practices.

More than 30 countries participated in this year’s event. Key buyers include Korea, China, Japan, USA, Canada, and Australia, with new participants from New Zealand. There were also participants from Germany, United Kingdom, Middle East, Russia, Singapore, and Canada, to name a few.

Aside from the pre-tour and the two-day TRAVEX, buyers were also treated to a five-day post tour to main attractions and destinations in the country namely Bicol, Davao, Palawan (Puerto Princesa-El Nido and Coron), Dumaguete-Siquijor-Sumilon and Ilocos. This allowed the buyers to experience first-hand the beauty and warmth of the Philippines.

Seminars on sustainable tourism and culture and tourism were also held for the local sellers. These were conducted by former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary and known Filipino environmentalist and philanthropist Gina Lopez and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso.

Since its foundation in 2001, PHITEX has been continuously putting the Philippines at the forefront of the global tourism market. It has helped promote the country not only as a premier destination for travel but also for trade, lifestyle, entertainment and business opportunities.

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