Tourism Promotions Board chief: Phitex 2023 sales to exceed last year’s ₱190M


THE Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) expects 100 travel buyers from 19 countries at the upcoming Philippine Travel Exchange 2023, which will be held in Cebu City.

“We hope that this event becomes an avenue to showcase more reasons to love the Philippines, as we highlight not only our award-winning destinations, but also our hidden gems. We are optimistic that we will exceed last year’s negotiated sales of P190.14 million in this year’s Phitex,” said TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Margarita Montemayor Nograles in a Viber message to the BusinessMirror. The TPB is the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Established in 1996, Phitex is the country’s premier government-organized travel trade event. It will be held from September 19 and 27 at the NuStar Convention Center for B2B/Travel Exchange and JPark Island Resort for the Phitex Educational Program (PEPTalk), with the theme centered on sustainability in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT).

“We are standing at the crossroads of a digital revolution, where IoT promises to reshape our world,” said Nograles. “As we navigate this transformative wave, the tourism industry must stand ready. Our task is not only to embrace this digital evolution but also to champion the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernization. This delicate balance is an expertise we, as custodians of our vibrant cultural heritage, must skillfully achieve,” she stressed.

Nograles said travel buyers will come from Canada, the United States/Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. A separate source said the  most number of travel buyers will come from China and South Korea, with 13 participants each; followed by India with 12; and Japan and Singapore, with 10 each.

South Korea has already been topping the list of tourist arrivals in the country, reflecting pre-pandemic trends. The DOT has been pushing the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to roll out an electronic visa platform for China, to encourage the market to return to its prepandemic rank of number 2, after South Korea. The agency also is keen on an e-visa platform for India, which has recorded the largest growth in outbound travel in the post-pandemic era. The DFA is currently beta-testing the e-visa platform in Shanghai.

During Phitex, there will be business-to-business meetings between the overseas buyers and 122 travel companies from all over the Philippines. The event will commence on September 19 with PEP Talk, featuring speakers Maria Raisa Ysaac-Orbon, Chief Marketing Officer of Packetworx Inc.; Maricel Gatchalian-Badilla, PhD., Associate Professor of UP Asian Institute of Tourism; lawyer Francis Euston R. Acero, Vice President and Data Privacy Officer of Meralco; Barry Lim, Senior Director, Public Sector & Government Practice, Frost and Sullivan-Singapore; Geoff Andres, Property President of the City of Dreams Manila; and Dawn Mendoza, Program Manager of the Philippine Financial & Inter-Industry Pride, are set to share their insights on tourism trends and sustainability practices in the digital age.

Nograles said participants can “experience the beauty of Philippine tourism destinations” through pre- and post-event familiarization tours in Manila-Rizal, Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon-Davao, Coron, Palawan, Boracay-Romblon, Cebu-Dumaguete, Pampanga-La Union, and Ilocos Norte and Sur.