News and Updates
DOT, TPB bring back on-site PHITEX 2023 in Cebu
20 September 2023
Director, Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy
CEBU, Philippines— The Department of Tourism (DOT) through its marketing promotions arm, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, today (Sept. 20), formally opened the 2023 edition of the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX), considered as biggest government-organized travel trade event in the country.
As the keynote speaker for PHITEX 2023, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, a proud Cebuana, expressed her gratitude to the hundreds of buyer delegates from 19 countries and Philippine tourism sellers and stakeholders in attendance in Cebu.
“Our gratitude goes to you for your continued belief in the potential of Philippine tourism, and your love for the Philippines,” Secretary Frasco said, as she disclosed the DOT’s plans and programs under the Marcos administration.
“At the start of the administration of our President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., he recognized the enormous potential of tourism to be a reliable pillar for the economic resurgence of our country coming out of the pandemic and the various calamities that came upon our shores,” Secretary Frasco added.
In reintroducing the Philippines as a competitive tourism destination to the ASEAN region and in the world, Secretary Frasco shared the DOT’s plans and programs aimed at promoting 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 that will benefit tourism stakeholders.
She likewise cited the country’s important global industry positions, including the role as lead country coordinator for the preparation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2025 that will succeed the existing ASTP 2016-2025 plan and ensure that the ASEAN will remain to be a responsible, sustainable, inclusive and balanced tourism region, and as Vice President of the 25th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and as Chair of the UNWTO Regional Commission for East Asia and the Pacific.
Further, the DOT chief also shared before international buyers and Philippine sellers, updates on the country’s continuing path towards full tourism recovery. As of September 19, 2023, she disclosed, the Philippines has already received over 3.8 million international visitors, which reflects over 80% of the target set for 2023 and has raked in for the country over 316.9 billion pesos in estimated revenue. “We are very hopeful that with the business-to-business exchanges that you will have today and in the coming days, you as well will contribute greatly to the Philippine tourism landscape and economy.”
The Secretary also disclosed the DOT’s strides taken towards its renewed focus on the equalization of tourism product development and promotions across the Philippines, which the PHITEX 2023, aptly adapts in its activities such as the tours for buyers which encompasses visits to community-based tourism sites across the country’s various regions, and puts the spotlight on grassroots initiatives, local textiles, culinary offerings, ecotourism activities, among others.
“The inclusivity of this program beckons international buyers to explore the rich diversity that our country has to offer. But what truly sets us apart as a tourism destination is no other than the best asset of Philippine tourism—the Filipino people. Filipinos are known all over the world for that distinct warmth and hospitality, our welcoming smiles, and our genuine love of life and everyone that comes into our country. We’re eager to share our culture and traditions with visitors from all over the world,” she added, noting that the DOT, under the Marcos administration, recently launched the Love the Philippines tourism branding to herald this enhanced value proposition.
“As we stand at the threshold of the golden era of tourism, we see a future where Philippine tourism shines brighter than ever before, where every visitor leaves not only with cherished memories, but with a piece of our nation in their hearts,” she enthused.
PHITEX returns to on-site format
This year’s PHITEX proved special, as it marks the resumption of the on-site staging of the event after the DOT and TPB held virtual and hybrid editions in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, for its 2023 edition, PHITEX has returned to Cebu, 16 years after the city first hosted the event in 2007.
Scheduled from 19-26 September 2023, this year’s PHITEX with the theme “Tourism Sustainability in the Era of Internet of Things”, invited hundreds of buyer delegates, local seller companies and delegates to a series of activities under the hallmark event components of the PHITEX including the Philippine Educational Program (PEP) Talk, Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) business-to-business (B2B) networking, as well as pre- and post-event tours for buyers.
Delivering her opening remarks, TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Margarita Nograles, noted the timeliness and relevance of the theme. “The Internet of Things, or IoT, has been a presence for years, and its reach has kept on expanding, altering our industry, and redefining the tourist experience with a mere click of a button. Let’s not overlook the ascendant force of AI or Artificial Intelligence, which is rapidly also shaping our sector,” she said.
The whole-day PEP Talk held September 19 at the Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark and attended by some 500 delegates, featured discussions on relevant and vital topics to the travel and hospitality industry, including market updates, tourism trends, and travel innovations. These discussions served as a prelude to the whole-day B2B meetings scheduled from September 20 to 21 at the Fili Hotel at Nustar Cebu.
Meanwhile, the pre-tours arranged for buyers on September 19 provided buyers with an option to take a Cebu countryside tour, or a Cebu City tour complete with an inspection of a few of its world-class accommodation properties.
In a strategic move for PHITEX 2023, the post-event tours for foreign buyers happening from September 22 onwards, will be highlighted thematically per each module and will offer a wide array of activities that target every interest of the buyers for their respective market/s, such as Nature and Adventure tour in Davao, Bukidnon, and Cagayan de Oro; Dine and Drive in Pampanga and La Union; Triple C (Calm, Culture, Culinary) in Romblon and Boracay; Wellness and Fun Dive in Coron, Palawan; Culinary, Culture, and Heritage in Ilocos Region; Triple F (Faith, Farm, Fun) in Cebu and Negros Oriental; and Arts and History in the City of the Old and the New featuring Manila and Rizal.
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.
Concluding her remarks at the event, Secretary Frasco expressed her optimism on the PHITEX 2023 and congratulated the TPB Philippines led by COO Nograles, tourism stakeholders, sellers, and buyers, for the National Tourism Initiative of the Year Award bestowed upon the TPB for the successful 2022 PHITEX, at The Gov Media Awards 2023 presented by Gov Media Magazine in Singapore earlier this year.
“I am hopeful that the successes of PHITEX 2022 can be mirrored, if not exceeded by all of the exchanges and convergences and collaborations that you will have amongst each other here in Cebu,” she said.
Published:September 20, 2023