Returning to the global scene with the biggest delegation of tourism stakeholders to date, the Philippines made a big comeback at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) 2023 Convention in Messe Berlin, Germany on 07 to 09 March 2023, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its marketing and promotion arm, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines.
DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco led the combined group of 26 co-exhibitors from the public and private sector consisting of 40 delegates attending the event. TPB Chief Operating Officer Margarita Nograles and other DOT officials also joined the Secretary. The Philippines is expected to highlight the country’s tourism developments and product offerings to over 160,000 visitors expected to attend the world’s largest travel and tourism trade fair.
The Philippines’ participation at the ITB Berlin aims to strengthen the country’s global tourism campaign through partnership opportunities with various tourism private sectors, including tour operators, online travel agencies, new online distribution platforms, travel websites and communities, journalists, and influencers, among others.
“The ITB Berlin holds great opportunities for the Philippines to showcase to the world its award-winning destinations such as Boracay, Cebu, Siargao, and Palawan, and also to include Banaue, Intramuros, and South Cotabato, among others. We also look forward to giving the world a view into our distinct and diverse culture, as well as the country’s best asset: the warmth and hospitality of the Filipino people,” said Secretary Frasco.
“Our participation is pursuant to further positioning the Philippines as a tourism powerhouse in Asia, and hopefully the world in the years ahead,” she added, also citing that the ITB attendance will help fastrack the recovery efforts by the DOT of the pandemic-hit industry.
The Philippines booth at the ITB Berlin featured 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. Moreover, visitors got a taste of Philippine coffee and chocolates through Kape de Filipina, a brand offering products meticulously grown by farmers and communities in the Philippines.
The DOT and TPB hosted a cocktail reception for international buyers, Philippine sellers, and industry partners on the second day of the convention, where they were treated to traditional Filipino cuisine by Ayan, a Filipino street food restaurant based in Berlin, and live performances from Lapu Lapu Arnis de Abanico, Songwriter and Singer David Mercado and Princess Virtudazo.
“What we have showcased in this year’s ITB is just a glimpse of our country’s rich culture and wide range of tourism offerings, curated to bring more ideas and inspiration to promote the Philippines as a meaningful and purposeful destination. We are more than ready to welcome you to our home. Come visit to witness, firsthand, the Philippine Experience,” enthused TPB COO Nograles.
This year, more tourism stakeholders joined the Philippine delegation to reintroduce the country as a world-class tourism destination, such as Airtrav Philippines, Araw Hospitality Inc., Amorita Resort, Annset Holidays, Inc., Baron Travel Corporation, Blue Horizons Travel & Tours Inc., Bohol Beach Club, Chroma Hospitality Inc. (Crimson Hotels & Resorts), Club Agutaya Inc., CTPH lifestyle & Travel Services, Divaishnavi International Inc., El Nido Resorts, Evasion Tropicale Travel and Tours, GI Philippines Corp., Intas Destination Management Inc., Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc., MyTRIPS Travel and Tours, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, Rajah Tour Philippines, Sharp Travel Service, Sarah Lea Travel and Tours, The Funny Lion, Total Exhibit & Expo Solutions, Inc., Travelexperts, Inc., Travelite Travel and Tours Co., and the Philippine Retirement Authority.
Negros Occidental bags Green Story Destination Awards
Two Negros Occidental cities brought honor to the country during the Green Destinations Awards at the ITB Berlin 2023 after being recognized for their inspirational sustainable tourism practices and efforts.
Sagay City bagged the People’s Choice Award and ranked 2nd under Nature and Scenery Category with its entry, “Mangrove Forest Protection through Community-based EcoTourism Project”. The city’s Suyac Island Mangrove Ecopark, located inside the Sagay Marine Reserve, is the first fully community-based ecotourism site in Sagay, that offers an unparalleled experience and allows travelers to connect with nature and local culture.
Another pride of Negros Occidental, Bago City’s entry “Reviving the Majestic Diversity of Bago Watershed” was awarded 3rd among the finalists under Environment and Climate Category. Bago City’s Watershed plays a vital role in steering the wheel of the economy of Negros Occidental by supplying water to about 19,000 hectares of agricultural areas. To protect, conserve and rehabilitate the watershed, the city government mobilized its resources and strengthened community involvement through Integrated Ecosystem Management Approach (Ridge to Reef Environmental Management).
The prestigious Green Destinations Story Awards at the ITB Berlin showcases the most inspirational initiatives for sustainable tourism development from stories submitted to the yearly Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition.
With the long-term goal of securing increased arrivals, receipts, and investments for the country, TPB annually participates in the ITB Berlin, which provides the Philippine travel trade an opportunity to network with relevant decision-makers from new and existing tourism markets across Europe, America, and Asia.