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DOT holds Philippine Travel Exchange in Cebu after 16 years

CEBU CITY (PIA) -- The Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) returned to Cebu as this year’s host for the PHITEX 2023 on September 19-26, 2023. 

After 16 years, this is the first time that Cebu was chosen to host the global travel fair. 

This is also the first full face-to-face event since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

This year, PHITEX gathered 168 seller delegates from the Philippines representing 122 companies who pitched the country’s finest tourism attractions, establishments, services, and products to a global audience of nearly 100 buyers from 19 different countries. 

The international buyers invited to the global travel fair are from travel businesses that are looking to extend their reach in the Philippines for their travel programs.

Close to 100 buyers from Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom, and the United States of America (USA) joined this year's travel trade event.

PHITEX 2023 opened with a PHITEX Educational Program (PEP) Talk on September 19 at JPark Island Resort.

It featured discussions anchored on this year’s theme, “Tourism Sustainability in the Era of Internet of Things (IoT),” which highlights the country’s digitalization and sustainability efforts to meet global demands.

Delegates were also given a chance to experience the beauty of Philippine tourism destinations through pre- and post-familiarization tours in Cebu and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, Metro Manila and Rizal, Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon-Davao in Mindanao, Coron in Palawan, Boracay-Romblon, Pampanga-La Union, and Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco giving her message during the opening ceremony of the PHITEX 2023 on September 20, 2023 in Cebu. (PIA-7)
Premier travel trade event

Established in 1996, PHITEX is the country’s premier government-led travel trade event.  

Organized by the TPB, the travel fair is an annual marketing event that aims to strengthen the country’s brand image and encourage participants to promote affordable and competitive tourism packages.

It not only facilitates meetings between international buyers and Philippine sellers through tabletop business appointments, but also offers participants a chance to experience the beauty of Philippine tourism destinations through pre and post familiarization tours. 

TPB is the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

‘Love the Philippines’

In her message, DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco headlined the country’s enhanced tourism branding “Love the Philippines” before the community of foreign buyers.

“The enhanced value proposition for the country focuses on continuing to support the fun and adventure that we have thus far articulated to the world, but also introducing to the world the many assets of Philippine tourism from our rich mega biodiversity to our heritage, our culture, our food, our various plethora of activities as well as the work of our creative communities,” said Frasco. 

In the same speech, she shared the tourism department’s plans and programs to promote ecotourism, the development of tourism communities across the country, fostering robust private sector participation to promote heritage protection, diversification of the country's tourism portfolio and other initiatives to benefit tourism stakeholders.

The tourism secretary announced that as of September 19, the Philippines had already received over 3.8 million international visitors, reflecting over 80% of the target set by the DOT for 2023. 

Tourism receipts as of August 2023 also stood at P316.9 billion.

She also added that the DOT is adding 15 more rest areas across the country in 2024 to ensure quality travel experience for tourists.

“In 2024, you can expect more investment in tourism, roads, especially leading towards emerging tourism destinations,” Frasco added. (MYP/PIA7 Cebu)

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Myrtle Pasigan

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Region 7

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