I am very happy to see that our tourism industry is now a frenzy of activity on all sides, bringing us back to the same pace as before that nasty virus forced us all into an unwanted hibernation.
Everyone is buoyed by the positive mood across the industry as not a single day goes by without a tourism related event organized by the tourism body or our Department of Tourism (DOT) agency.
After the launch of the HoHo (Hop On Hop Off) tour by the Makati City Government and the Department of Tourism-NCR, meetings were immediately called among us tour operators to put together extension tour packages to different parts of the metropolis. A visitor likes to visit other interesting places which are not included in Hoho itinerary. Naturally, our tour operators immediately put their heads together to figure out how we can best showcase all of our unique attractions.
The order came from the Department of Tourism to prepare tourism packages for various places in our country to cater to the 10,000 visitors expected to visit our country for the FIBA World Cup from August 25 to September 10.
The 16-nation global event comes ahead of the World Policy Forum on Financial Inclusion from September 12 to 15, which is expected to bring top finance ministers and bankers from around the world. They have prepared attractive tour packages for them to avail when they come here for the three-day event.
The Department of Tourism announced the winners of its Bisita Be My Guest program, which offers attractive holiday prizes to foreign visitors and locals who invite them to our country. I was asked the privilege of tapping a computer key that would electronically select a winner from thousands of entries. It was great to see all the entries covering practically all nationalities.
A friend and tourism leader from Subic, Joe Floresca, owner of Le Charme Suites in the area, met with me to discuss the planned Subic Festival in October, designed to attract more tourists to the area. Naturally, it will have the full support of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines because it will be fresh, attractive and exciting to surprise locals and foreigners alike.
Another friend, the dynamic travel agent, Michelle Taylan, is cooking up another travel fair in late September this year, where the main attraction will be Israeli travel agents who play a major role in selling packaged tours to the Philippines. Operators selling very affordable packaged tours to the Holy Land.
Meanwhile, I had a meeting with Ferdinand Cruz, Tourism Officer of Rizal’s Teide, as we are putting together a caravan for car enthusiasts to explore the unspoiled beauty and attractions of Rizal Province.
Domestic tourism, the bread and butter of our industry, is now stronger than ever as our citizens enjoy experiential tourism to new rural attractions that are slowly opening up to visitors.
Also, the DOT brought together the heads of tourism companies to clarify the „real score” on its much-ballyhooed tie-up with Grab. Grab has allowed DOT to use local tours offered by our tour operators as a platform. That means any visitor who owns the Grab app can easily book any local package tour and all the components of such tour will be provided by the tour operator. Grab allows our tour operators to use its app to make what they sell… a win for our industry for sure.
A group of Vietnamese tour operators went to Manila the other day to network with our tour suppliers. This was once again a very successful event hosted by DOT with the participation of our hotels and resorts. Our Vietnamese friends were able to make deals with our tour providers and were very happy with the B2B session they participated in.
The „piggy” came when the DOT met with us stakeholders to introduce the planned development of our tourism slogan and get our feedback. When they asked me to speak on behalf of the group, I declared that I was happy with the current tourism slogan and the benefits it has brought us over the years.
But I also made it clear that I am always open to change, as I subscribe to the adage „The only constant in life is change”. Apart from that, I get excited about anything new and look forward to seeing the new slogan make our country even more attractive. Everyone in the hall liked what we saw.
When they asked us for feedback, I told them that the new slogan would be more catchy if it came with a cute jingle. With the overflowing musical talent of our kababayans, I’m sure someone could easily compose a catchy tune.
Ensuring all bases are covered, the DOT through the Office of Tourism Standards and Regulation Director Vir Maguigat is preparing for our efforts by meeting dentists across the country to ensure their dental clinics are world-class. To promote dental tourism. Frankly, I didn’t realize that a significant number of foreigners come to our shores to have their dental problems taken care of by our specialists.
I was unable to attend many tourism-related events due to scheduling conflicts. But one thing is certain – our tourism industry is in a frenzy to reclaim its rightful place in the economic horizon of our country. Talk about resilience and chutzpah! Nothing can stop our partners now. Don’t you love them? Don’t you just love the Philippines?
Your Monday laugh:
Why do people say you „break a leg” when you go on stage? Because every play has a cast.
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