Foreign travel agencies that attended the recently concluded Phitex Philippine Travel Exchange or Phitex 2009 have agreed to promote the Philippines as an ecotourism destination.
Xpert Holidays, a dynamic travel company from Hong Kong which provides personal & professional services to people who are looking for adventurous, exotic and unique holidays, said it will include the Philippines in the promotion of ecotourism to their segment.
“The Hong Kong market is high on eco-travels, and we respond to this by offering one-of-a-kind tours. We have found that the Philippines appealed to a wide range of clients,” said Chi Ping Phoebe Tang, assistant operations manager.
“The Philippines is a good place to start educating people on responsible travel; where one’s ‘save the earth’ advocacy can truly be nurtured,“ Tan added, citing El Nido, Palawan, as one of the most beautiful places she’s ever been to, and a destination widely popular with families in Hong Kong.
Hoi Kuen Wong, the market representative of the Tourism Department in Hong Kong. Macau, and South China, noted that the Philippines has steadily gained a following on ecotourism, with beaches and adventure trails all over the islands, such as Palawan, Bohol, and the Cordillera.
“We are confident that the Philippines' growth in tourism can surpass that of the previous years," Wong added.
Phitex 2009 attracted 205 foreign buyers – carefully selected and matched with a formidable list of sellers in the country, offering expert market knowledge and appropriate travel services and products. Held at the SMX Convention Center, the Phitex allowed for dedicated sessions that ensured fruitful meetings, bookings, and partnerships.
After the business-to-business appointments and the Philippine Travel Mart, the buyers attending the Phitex will be brought to post-tours around the country, highlighting eco-adventures in Palawan, Bohol, and Cebu.
Tess Mauricio, OIC for Travel Trade Promotions of the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation said the plan is to let the foreign buyers experience first-hand the unique adventures in the country, to further allow them to promote the Philippines as a multi-faceted destination.
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said Phitex 2009 is the largest yet, with intensive business appointments lined up for the most influential buyers from different market segments.
“In light of the economic scenario and the issues of global warming and climate change, we continue to position the Philippines as an ecotourism destination. Our natural wonders are what we could be proud of the most, with our unspoilt beaches, pristine rainforests, vast mountains, and numerous islands,” Durano added.
“As we persist in moving the Philippines forward in ecotourism efforts, we enjoin travelers to not only explore the many marvels of the country, but more importantly, help in preserving them through responsible tourism," the tourism chief said.
The markets were all well-represented in Phitex, with key buyers from Asian countries such as India, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Oceania was also represented with New Zealand and Australia.
European buyers from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom comprised the biggest delegation. The fast growing Middle East market was also represented by companies from the United Arab Emirates; and retailers and wholesalers from Canada and the United States were also in the roster of buyers.
Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque, Jr. said that despite the seeming global challenges, the country’s tourism industry has remained vibrant, with all sectors working together to stimulate activity and movement.
“There is no better time to visit the Philippines than now. We have more destinations beyond the usual; and more flights around the country,” Jarque said.
Walter Sultan, Phitex Secretary-General, said Phitex 2009 has been envisioned as a profitable and fruitful undertaking for both buyers and sellers, to discuss business relations for tourism. "Aside from the intensive appointments, we continually enjoin foreign buyers to continue to discover the wonders of the archipelago and experience the warmth of Filipino culture,” Sultan said.