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Tourism promoters hoping for realistic return from trade show

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THE government’s tourism promotions arm said it is hoping to generate “realistic” revenue from its trade show in Bohol next week.

The Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) conference will be held in both Bohol and online on Sept. 22-24, with nearly 300 participants.

The event usually generates an average of P700 million to P750 million in sales, Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Officer Maria Anthonette C. Velasco-Allones said in an online news conference Wednesday.

“We are trying to be realistic and open to the possibilities that await us given the reality of this pandemic,” she said.

PHITEX usually attracts an average of 190 buyers from 31 countries, and 138 Philippine sellers. As of Tuesday, there are 124 confirmed buyers from 33 countries and 161 sellers.

The Philippine delegates include representatives from 92 hotels and resorts, 63 tour operators, two airlines, and four other tourism companies. Many of the confirmed foreign buyers are from Asia, including 13 from Indonesia and nine each from China and South Korea.

Ms. Velasco-Allones said that the board chose not to postpone the event because of the decline in tourist arrivals and revenue. She said that international arrivals for the first eight months of the year declined 75.1%.

“This effort is part of the government’s balancing act. Di naman pwedeng titigil din kami (We can’t just give up),” she said, describing the event as preparation for the reopening of tourism in the future.

“We hope to realize gains by next year,” she said.

Tourism revenue dropped 72% to P81 billion in the first seven months of 2020, the Tourism department said last month. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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