PHITEX offers ‘overwintering’ tours for foreigners

The 2022 Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX), the third edition held during the still lingering pandemic, kicked off Wednesday, renewing optimism on more business and leisure travels into the country.

PHITEX 2022 is the largest government-led business-to-business (B2B) travel trade event and is expected to generate around P50 million to P60 million in bookings.

Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) of the Philippines Chief Operating Officer, Maria Margarita Nograles, said the event is timely as more borders are now reopening.

“I have high hopes for the many successes we will soon see as tourism picks up steam, with PHITEX serving as one of the primary drivers behind the industry’s resurgence. May this event ignite more business and leisure travels as we welcome the return of international buyers to our shores and experience by themselves the beauty of Philippine destinations through our post-tours,” Nograles said.

Some 132 Philippine sellers and over 100 foreign buyers participated in the event, with more than 50 present on-site.

“We spoke to them in the past few days and they’re so excited to be here and so raring to set up these products and tours to the Philippines. So I think this is an amazing start to the recovery that we want to see in the next few years,” she added.

During the PHITEX launch, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said Manila would introduce a “special Philippine collection of overwintering packages” for foreign buyers, highlighting the sun and beaches in the country’s tropical islands, Filipino wellness experience, and rich cultural immersions, among others.

The event also includes post-tours for buyers where they can “sustainably explore” Philippine destinations in regional clusters of Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Cebu and Bohol, Davao, Ilocos Norte, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, and Manila.

“With PHITEX presenting an opportunity for us all to discover Philippine culture, learn more about the country’s products and services, and forge partnerships, let us be part of the solution and seek ways to improve tourism experiences while limiting our impact to the environment,” Nograles stressed.

“We must go beyond the money shot and think of ways to positively contribute to the betterment of the travel industry as a whole,” she added.

Latest data from the Department of Tourism showed that Americans have outranked South Koreans as the Philippines’ top visitors this year, posting a total of 335,327 visitors from February 2022 to Oct. 17.

South Korea contributed a total of 240,469 while China, which was previously the country’s second source market, only had 24,599 visitors in the same period.

Still, Chinese travelers are anticipated as Chinese buyers joined the 2022 PHITEX online, Nograles said. (PNA)