What happened during DOT's first-ever 'hybrid' regional travel fair in Tacloban?

Published August 10, 2021, 2:16 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Over P18 million worth of generated business leads were recorded during the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) first-ever hybrid edition of the regional travel fair (RTF) in Tacloban, Leyte last week.

Onsite participants of the first-ever hybrid edition of the 7th Regional Travel Fair in Tacloban, Leyte. (Photo from Department of Tourism)

The DOT said the event was successfully organized by its marketing and promotions arm, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, from Aug. 5 to 8.

Carrying the theme, “Infinite Escapes: Eastern Visayas,” the 7th RTF‘s online platform served as the virtual business venue to more than 1,500 registered visitors. The onsite activities were held at Summit Hotel Tacloban.

The four-day event featured a tourism webinar, a one-day business-to-business (B2B) session, and business-to-consumer (B2C) live selling aimed at promoting and selling domestic tour packages through showcasing the best regional products and services.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the hybrid event was part of the agency’s efforts to “adapt to the emerging challenges and the developments that go with them within and around the tourism industry” amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“This event will help with the continued promotion of our destinations in the various regions while adapting digitization as one of the most effective ways to bridge us to the new normal,” Puyat explained.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat speaks during the opening ceremony of the 7th Regional Travel Fair. (Photo from Department of Tourism)

The event kicked off with a webinar session that was led by a strong line-up of speakers that included Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, who shared relevant insights on Philippine weaves; Grassroots Travel Founder Joselito Acosta, who introduced the life-changing facet of community-based tourism entrepreneurship; and DOT Region VIII Director Karina Rosa Tiopes, who presented updates on Eastern Visayas tourism.

Meanwhile, a total of 600 appointments were conducted during the B2B sessions, which provided opportunities to 139 buyers and sellers to experience innovative ways of developing business connections and update local industry partners on the latest Philippine tourism offerings.

Local products from Eastern Visayas such as handcrafts, native bags, accessories, and food items were likewise featured during the two-day live selling in the RTF.

Hotel accommodations and tours packages were also offered by regional DOT-accredited establishments and tour operators. In the end, a total of P18.9 million worth of business leads were generated during the event.

“While the end of the pandemic remains uncertain, your shared optimism inspires us to face our day-to-day challenges. The DOT shall continue to ensure safe travel for everyone,” the DOT chief said.

“With your continued support, we will pave the way for our tourism to bounce back for the sake of those who depend on it for their livelihood, for those who need to travel for their sanity, and for the tourism communities to gradually recover from the adverse impact of this pandemic,” she added.

The DOT assured the public that strict adherence to safety protocols was enforced on onsite participants in Tacloban, which is currently under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status.

The next RTF is slated this coming November in the Zamboanga Peninsula, with DOT Region IX serving as regional host, the department announced.