Among the many tourism expos staged by various organizations here in the country, I have always looked forward to the iconic Philippine Travel Mart (PTM) simply because its President, the indefatigable Fe Abling-Yu, has succeeded in getting all the regions of the country involved.
These regions put up colorful and interesting displays of attractions unique to their area, even offering products that expo guests can taste or buy. In fact, the humongous halls of SMX Convention Center end up looking like a showcase of the many beautiful things our country offers.
This annual PTM first started 34 years ago under the initiative of the Department of Tourism, purely as an exhibition aimed at both the trade and consumer markets. In 1994, our Tourism Industry fell victim to a series of man-made and natural calamities happening in the country. Fearful that the popular trade Expo might no longer continue, the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) lived up to its mandate and took over the reins of PTM, reorganized, managed, and nurtured it into its annual flagship project.
Since then, PTM has become the longest-running and most exciting interactive trade exposition of Philippine destinations, giving guests a colorful and interesting tour of our country, its attractions, its products, its indigenous tribes, and the world-renowned Filipino hospitality and smile sparkling throughout the massive hall.
As one goes through the corridors between the skillfully constructed booths of the different regions, including those of other countries, one can easily appreciate the well-curated tour packages and consumer products that carry the fundamental qualities required by sustainable tourism and community engagement.
Because the PTM has long built a reputation of trust among its patrons for partnering with reputable travel establishments that offer exciting packages to familiar domestic destinations, PHILTOA makes it a point to highlight new discoveries and tourist attractions for travelers to explore.
With ASEAN integration, this year’s PTM offered tour packages for Southeast Asian countries, with easy access to exotic locations such as Bali, Siem Reap, and Ho Chi Minh. Of course, packages to many destinations in the more popular countries like Japan, China, and Korea were, likewise, available.
Attracting approximately 200 exhibitors annually, ranging from travel and tour agencies, hotels, resorts, theme parks, airlines, and local government units, the PTM’s exhibition area was divided into various zones, for guests to have easy access to their preferred travel destination
The Yellow Zone had MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions) offerings and Entertainment products, while the Blue Zone had all those establishments that offer fun under the sun – the beach, cruise, and marine sports offerings.
The Green Zone highlighted Cultural and Farm Tourism, while the Pink Zone had health, wellness, and culinary packages that have become very popular with budding foodies through the years.
I also noticed that this year, the PTM went really high-tech, using vibrant electronic billboards instead of the traditional tarpaulins. Visitors also found it easy to find the exact location of the booths they wanted to visit by scanning the QR codes of the respective exhibitors, to achieve paperless transactions.
Aside from all the festive exhibits, the PTM also banners various activities that promote our culture and our indigenous products from the various regions.
This year was no exception, with the staging of school-based competitions in Eco Chorale, Himig ng Kundiman, Patimpalak ng Kasuotang Pilipino, Cultural Dance, and the Philippine Tourism Quiz Bee.
Kudos, once again, to PHILTOA President Fe Abling-Yu and her team for successfully offering on a golden platter the many beautiful attractions in our country, highlighting the many reasons why people “Love the Philippines.”
YOUR MONDAY CHUCKLE:
A woman gets on a bus with her baby.
The bus driver says, “Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman walks
to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming!
She tells the man seated next to her, “The driver just insulted me!” The man says,
“Go back there and tell him off! Go on,
I’ll hold your monkey for you!”
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