PH showcases top destinations in World Travel Expo

LS_WTM2011_028LONDON – The Philippine delegation, headed by the Department of Tourism joined the more than 5,000 exhibitors from different countries for the 4-day travel exposition at Excel, London. The World Travel Market is the leading global event for the travel industry that attracts more than 50 thousand travel professionals.

Dubbed as “Visit the Philippines Year,” the DOT showcased a bigger booth and had more delegations from top tourist destinations like Boracay, Palawan and Bohol to emerging destinations like Camiguin and Siargao.


Dubbed as “Visit the Philippines Year,” the DOT showcased a bigger booth and had more delegations from top tourist destinations like Boracay, Palawan and Bohol to emerging destinations like Camiguin and Siargao.

“It’s our first time but I think we’re ready. Our island is a beautiful island province in the Philippines. Number one, our province is very peaceful. Yung crime rate namin napakababa,” Camiguin Governor JJ Romualdo, a first-time WTM participant, said.

Surigao City Governor Sol Matugas, whose province is also a first-time exhibitor in London, is confident that its participation in the WTM will bring more tourists to the province.

“You don’t fear anything there. It’s so quiet. It’s so peaceful. And it’s just like a world of its own. So people love to go there even if they find it hard to get a ride because there’s only one flight every day,” said Matugas.

“The natural beauty of the island is its potential. Sometimes we say it’s untouched, undiscovered. Because the purity of the environment is there,” she added.

Promoting regional tourism

Undeniably, regional economies are benefitting from tourism growth, creating more jobs and boosting local businesses.

Philippine Ambassador to the UK Enrique Manalo, who joined the DOT London office in welcoming exhibitors from the Philippines, explained that the new tourism approach is to promote and showcase regional diversity of the Philippines to European travellers.

“Before we would only be presenting the Philippines, now we are actually going down and promoting different regions or provinces or any areas of the Philippines. In other words, giving the community here, all those attending the travel market, to have a much better picture of the diversity of the Philippines and the various places you can visit in the country,” Manalo said.

This year, the Philippines sent the biggest regional representatives, including local government officials and tourism and travel executives.

Hobnobbing with travel industry experts and professionals were local leaders from various provinces and districts in the Philippines, who were also trying to make a pitch and sell their areas.

“We’re very aggressive. You can see that tourism is growing especially in our district, in our province, and in the whole island of Mindanao,” said Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick ‘Bullet’ Jalosjos.

“We’re famous for our mangoes, the mango that was accepted by USA, Australia, and of course some other regions in Asia,” said Guimaras Rep. JC Rahman Nava.

“Recently we earned the UNESCO declaration of Mt Hamiguitan in my district, as one of the world heritage sites,” Davao Oriental Rep. Thelma Almario said.

The contingent from Mindanao pointed out that the Southern Philippines is now key in economic and tourism growth of the country.

“We’re very happy about this development. With the Bangsamoro on the way, we also invite others to look at possible investments, particularly in the ASEAN integration come 2015,” Christopher Arnuco, Chairperson of Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority, said.

Investors confident in potential of PH tourism

Huma Resort and Spa presient Dr. Hamad Al Tuwauri said he was convinced to develop the paradise island in Palawan because of improved economy and infrastructure, better governance and the good nature of the people in Palawan.

“It’s a treasure in my opinion in nature. We felt nobody knows about this and it’s been hidden from the tourism and from all over the world. And so we said it would be a good idea if we go over there and do something unique,” said Al Tuwauri.

Now Huma Resort and Spa is an operational resort with 81 villas, each with individual jacuzzi.

“Everybody’s fascinated by the beauty it brings. It’s really unique – the landscape, the mountains – everything in it is not that hard to sell it,” said Sheila Macadangdang, VP of administration of Huma Resort and Spa.

Recently, Palawan was voted by travellers as the best island in the world in the Conde Nast Readers Choice Awards 2014.

Tour operators and tourism businessmen from Palawan said the timing of the announcement couldn’t be more perfect as it gives them competitive advantage.

Philippine tourism is growing. The DOT reported that the number of visitors to the Philippines from January to August this year increased by 2.72 per cent compared to the tourism volume of the same period year.

Key exhibitors attribute the growth to the good marketing and packaging strategies of the DOT, developing infrastructure and confidence in the present government. – With report from Patrick Ropeta

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