Tourism gets a boost in Cebu

August 20, 2009 - The 3rd Philippine International Tourism Fair 2009 (PITF) held at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel was an exceptional organized by the National Association of Independent Travel Agents (NAITAS) headed by its chairman emeritus Robert Lim Joseph and chairman Angel Ramos Bognot and its institutional partners the Department of Tourism, Philippine Convention and Visitors Center and Philippine Tourism Authority.

The fair opened with the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremonies led by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, DOT Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab, PTA director DJ Bagatsing, Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama, together with Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, DOT region VII director Dawnie Roa, Marco Polo general manager Hans Hauri, Robert Lim Joseph, and Angel Ramos Bognot.

The keynote speaker was Governor Garcia, who also hosted the Mabuhay luncheon that showcased the best of the provinces’ dance contingents .

DOT undersecretary Oscar Palabyab, on behalf of Tourism Secretary Ace Durano delivered a special message highlighting the importance of introducing and developing new Philippine tourism packages both in the domestic and international markets.

The Travel Market Exchange or TRAMEX, managed and supervised by PCVC opened the following day with Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, the Philippine Tourism Authority general manager Mark Lapid and Tourism Undersecretary of planning and promotions Edu Jarque gracing the affair.

The activities were participated in by 74 companies which included travel agencies, hotels, resorts, spas and medical tourism professionals, gave Philippine sellers the opportunity to conduct business-to-business, face-to-face interaction with foreign buyers. The event helped Philippine sellers increase their tourism receipts by building relationships with overseas business partners.

Several tourism related topics were presented by guest speakers such as Verna Buensuceso, DOT team head- Europe; Annette Ablan, Russian culture and language expert; Bong Bengson, DOT team head- Middle East; and Glenn Agustin, DOT team head- India .

Travel specialists Alice Queblatin of Southwind Travel and Tours; Walter Sultan of Travel Village; Cristina Ele Hildawa of Alta Vista de Boracay; Art Boncato of Marco Polo Plaza Davao and Ed Nuque spoke on the different leading destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Boracay, Davao and their tourism products and services available.

On the final day various seminars and discussions were presented. They offered awareness campaign among new and even seasoned industry players. They also encouraged travel trade professionals to venture and invest in particular markets. Speakers included Rose Libongco of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, and Clang Garcia, secretary general of Movement of Incentive Travel Executives, Philippines.

Chairman Angel Ramos Bognot and Claudine Roura spoke on Philippine medical tourism global competitiveness.

The PITF officially closed with a farewell dinner hosted by the Marco Plaza Hotel. A playful entertainment showcased the elements of nature followed with the fabulous numbers by violin artist Jay Cayuca.

Awards were given to corporate exhibitors who excelled in the following categories: Most Popular booth went to Pagcor, Best Booth design, Badian Island Resort and Spa; Best Corporate Booth, the Manila Hotel; Best Marketing Effort, the SBMA and Industry Choice Booth to the Department of Tourism, Central Visayas Region. (Philstar)

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