ITB Berlin 2023, a true success for the Philippines
Philippines tourism players bagged more than US$4.5 million (PHP250 million) in negotiated contracts and sales during ITB Berlin 2023, highlighting the return of the destination on the world tourism stage.
The Philippines tourism stakeholders can see the future positively. Following their return from ITB Berlin, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said at a tourism stakeholders’ summit that over 270 business meetings were held during the 3-day networking event, resulting in bookings with a projected value of PHP251 million, equivalent to US$4.5 million.
“These figures show the strong demand for the Philippines in the world’s largest travel and tourism trade fair. It further demonstrates the bright prospects for our country,” said the Tourism Secretary.
The DOT together with its marketing arm the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) spearheaded 26 co-exhibitors from the public and private sector at the ITB. The delegation highlighted the readiness of Philippine destinations to welcome tourists, particularly Boracay, Cebu, Siargao and Palawan.
The Philippines’ booth at the ITB Berlin featured also the country’s rich culture and sustainable tourism through the artistic works of T’nalak weaver Myrna Pula of South Cotabato and Yakan Weaver and Entrepreneur Angelita Pichay Ilul of Zamboanga.
Frasco earlier said Manila’s ITB participation was to further position the Philippines as a “tourism powerhouse in Asia, and hopefully the world in the years ahead.”
Philippines, a tourism powerhouse
First initiatives to turn the country into a tourism powerhouse were highlighted a couple of weeks ago during the unveiling of the 2023-2028 National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) in Manila. the Department of Tourism (DOT) vowed to “establish a Philippine tourism industry anchored on Filipino culture, heritage and identity, which aims to be sustainable, resilient and competitive.”
The roadmap identified seven measures to achieve this goal, with improving tourism infrastructure and accessibility as one of the priorities.
“The overall target is the transformation of the tourism industry of the Philippines, which is why we are not just focusing on the promotion of tourism, but more importantly on the development of the industry from the ground up – focusing not just on our key destinations, but also on our emerging and lesser known destinations,” Frasco said during the presentation.
“We can only truly transform the Philippine tourism industry if we address the prevailing challenges that we face continually across our regions,” she added.
Under the NTDP, Frasco said DOT would focus on digitalization; enhancement of the overall tourist experience by incentivizing sustainable travel and improving safety and security in destinations and boosting air connectivity among others.
” The Philippine Experience” to be launched in May
The agency would also tap local government units in developing more tourist sites and linking emerging ones to key destinations.
Frasco said the government will increase investments in creating “high-value” tourism experiences and announced the May 2023 launch of the Philippine Experience.
The programme, which aims to highlight heritage and culture unique to every region in the country, will be piloted in Davao, Ilocos Region, Bicol and Calabarzon, and is set to include three to five-day tour packages allowing tourists to experience both well-known and lesser-known destinations in said regions.
The DOT has yet to reveal arrival targets for the next five years but earlier said it seeks to reach 4.8 million in foreign visitors by end of 2023. Last year, the Philippines successfully closed its tourism year with 2.65 million visitors generating some US$4 billion in estimated revenues. “The momentum for recovery and growth has begun. We’ve eased restrictions. We’ve continued to aggressively promote our destinations through the DOT’s constant and unyielding presence in various exhibits in the Philippines and all over the world. And people are traveling now, and are traveling with a vengeance,” Casco stated.
“By promoting the Philippines through the biggest international tourism and trade fairs across Asia and Europe, we are re-introducing the Philippines to the world, and bringing no less than the best of the best of the country and the Filipino people,” she added.
(Source: Philippines News Agency)