By Roy Mabasa
The Philippines is bringing its tourism campaign to a higher level with its participation in two of the world’s biggest travel fairs aimed at attracting more visitors from western countries such as Spain and the United States.
In Madrid, more than 255,000 potential tourists witnessed the Filipino culture and tourism highlights at the 40th Feria Internacional de Turismo (FITUR) held last January 22-23.
The Philippine delegation brought Tinikling and other cultural dances, kundiman renditions, flair bartending featuring Filipino champion bartender Dennis Barela Adiuba and served Filipino dishes to booth visitors.
Philippine Consul General to Madrid Adrian Cruz welcomed the delegation and thanked the Department of Tourism (DOT) for sustaining its continuous presence in FITUR and for the vibrant presentations that were rendered during the tourism fair.
FITUR remains the biggest travel and tourism fair in Spain with a combined 165 countries and 11,000 tour operators participating annually. It draws over 250,000 people each year.
Based on the latest government statistics, Spain is currently one of the Philippines’ best performing and key source markets in Europe.
In 2018, Spanish travelers to the Philippines peaked at 44,130 (19.42 percent increase). As of October 2019, from Spanish travelers to the country already totaled to 39,663 (11 percent increase).
In terms of growth rate, Cruz noted that the Philippines was considered as the best-performing country for Spanish travelers to Southeast Asia.
Towards the weekend right after the two-day Madrid fair, the DOT also organized a consumer presentation at El Corte Ingles’ Callao, arguably the retail giant’s most prominent and visited branch.
Philippine tourism banners were prominently displayed on LED screens on the store’s facade, visible to hundreds of visitors passing by Madrid’s busiest streets.
In New York, the Philippine Department of Tourism joined the New York Times (NYT) Travel Show 2020, regarded as the largest trade and consumer show in the U.S., held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on January 24 – 26, 2020
In the NYT event, the Philippines promoted its products and destinations, and disseminated tourism information about the beauty and wonders of the country.
More than 35,000 visitors and around 700 exhibitors from more than 175 countries all over the world participated in the NYT gig.
Philippine Consul General to New York Claro Cristobal invited the Filipino-American community to visit the Philippine booth and likewise promoted the 2020 VIP Tour during the event.
The Consulate brought the Sinulog dancers in full costume from the group Cebuanos Engaging in Building Unity, Inc. (CEBU) to perform during the event.