The Philippine Travel Mart this year breaks with the event’s tradition of offering purely domestic tour packages after its organizer, Philtoa, announced that Southeast Asian destinations will be paired with local areas “to take advantage of the ASEAN integration.”
Cesar Cruz, president, said that combination packages have increasingly become the trend in ASEAN and even among Filipino travelers. He noticed that the regional market tend to travel to multiple destinations within the Philippines, while Filipinos would travel to as much destinations as they can within their short breaks.
Pairing the Philippines to other Southeast Asian destinations has become more possible today because of the increased connectivity within the region. Even the secondary city Puerto Princesa is now connected with Kota Kinabalu.
“We’ll offer packages like Boracay-Bali, but the traveler can do both destinations in separate itineraries. You now do Boracay, then three months after, you may do Bali. We understand that the ASEAN and Filipino traveler can only get out of our place for just a few days of vacation,” said Cruz in a press conference.
Cruz pointed out the even tour operators are now going beyond domestic packages. “We’ve seen that among tour operators, they’re not just offering the Philippines. The operators will present their Philippine programs but will also offer options to Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Kota Kinabalu. Because of the ASEAN integration, tour operators in other Southeast Asian countries will tend to do the same. Each of the destination in the ASEAN area would like to establish itself as a hub,” said Cruz during a press conference.
Set on September 5 to 7 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay, the 25th Philippine Travel Mart will also feature Pasasalamat Sale ng Bayan trips that will help rebuild those that were affected by the typhoons and earthquake that hit Visayas.
Luxury destinations will also be highlighted, including packages in El Rio Y Mar, Club Paradise, Busuanga Bay Lodge, Huma Island Resort, Two Seasons Resort, and Sangat Island Dive Resort in Palawan. Last year, a luxury resort, El Nido Resort, and a Palawan-based tour operator were the top sellers of the event.
Over the past months, Philtoa has been active in revisiting local destinations that are currently improving their infrastructure to enhance travel connectivity and areas that are rehabilitating their tourism industry.