The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, have officially launched the 2023 edition of the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX), the country’s largest government-organized travel trade event, today, September 20 in Fili-Nustar Hotel, Cebu City.
PHITEX 2023 marked the return to on-site format after virtual and hybrid editions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Returning to Cebu City after 16 years, PHITEX recorded the participation of 87 foreign buyers from 19 countries and 167 Philippine sellers representing 122 companies in the B2B event.
The theme for this year’s edition is centered on sustainability in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), highlighting the country’s digitalization and sustainability efforts to meet global demands.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco delivered the keynote address at the PHITEX 2023, expressing gratitude to foreign buyer delegates and local tourism stakeholders.
“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 unveiled the DOT’s plans and programs under the Marcos administration.
Secretary Frasco outlined the DOT’s initiatives to promote ecotourism, develop tourism communities, engage the private sector in heritage preservation, diversify the tourism portfolio, and bolster the tourism industry.
She also highlighted the Philippines’ global roles, such as leading the preparation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2025 and serving as Vice President of the 25th UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly.
Furthermore, she provided updates on the country’s ongoing tourism recovery, with over 3.8 million international visitors received as of September 19, 2023, generating over 316.9 billion pesos in estimated revenue.
Running from September 19-26, 2023, PHITEX features various activities, including the Philippine Educational Program (PEP) Talk, Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) business-to-business (B2B) networking, and pre- and post-event tours for buyers.
TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Margarita Nograles highlighted the theme, “Tourism Sustainability in the Era of Internet of Things,” emphasizing the impact of technology on the tourism industry.
“Amid this transformative surge, the tourism industry must be poised for action. We must not only embrace this digital evolution but also guide the way, ensuring that tradition coexists harmoniously with modernization,” Nograles said in line with the expanding IoT that is redefining the whole industry and the tourist experience.
PEP Talk discussions covered market updates, tourism trends, and travel innovations, leading up to B2B meetings at the Fili Hotel at Nustar Cebu on September 20-21.
Pre-tours offered buyers the choice of exploring the Cebu countryside or the city, including world-class accommodations while post-event tours for foreign buyers, starting from September 22, will offer themed activities across various regions of the Philippines, catering to different interests — Manila-Rizal, Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon-Davao, Coron Palawan, Boracay-Romblon, Cebu-Dumaguete, Pampanga-La Union, and Ilocos Norte and Sur.