MANILA, Philippines – There was a time when one has to pay an arm and a leg to enjoy a decent vacation. Thanks to the boost in the international and domestic tourism industry, travel destinations have become more accessible to tourists. Competition has also played a role in giving travelers great choices in booking their trips. Indeed, nowadays going on a trip is no longer a luxury but a way of life.
Travel enthusiasts are sure to have a great start of the year as Travel Tour Expo (TTE) 2011 gives us an array of the best deals in the market this February 18 to 20, 2011 at the SMX Convention Hall. Now on its 18th year, the TTE is an annual event in the Philippine travel and tourism industry organized by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) and the Department of Tourism (DoT) and serves as a one-stop-shop for all domestic and international travel needs such as tickets, land arrangements, hotel accommodation, tours, and other travel packages.
Considering the events that rocked the country’s tourism sector last year, travel authorities say 2010 was still a good year for the industry. At present, composing the bulk of the traveling public are students, businessmen and group travelers. “I’ve seen a really big demand for groups which are composed of students and those who are on incentive tours,” shares PTTA president and TTE chairman Paz “Pat” Alberto. According to her, companies give away domestic and international travel packages to their employees as incentives. “Like a year ago, the incentive tours were (from) companies sponsoring their employees such as the salespeople, as a reward for a good performance at work. For students, of course those taking tourism-related courses.”
With the theme “Around the World in Three Days,” the event offers cheaper ways of going to any part of the world. Visitors of the three-day event can expect travel fares and packages that are said to be “better” than what consumers can find “online or anywhere else.”
“All the agencies will be able to service you and give you the best offer available in the market,” Alberto says. The TTE organizers have also solicited support from tour operators abroad to give them very special rates. “And just to let you know, Disney Land will be giving Disney items to anybody who buys a package to Hong Kong and stays overnight in Disney hotel or for a day during the event.” Local destinations are worth checking out as well. “But of course we have to think also that there are so many beautiful spots in the Philippines. And we have so many new boutique resorts. Both domestic and international (agencies) will be offering something different and something new.”
Last year’s top destinations for Filipinos included Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore. This year, Alberto believes that it will still be the same because of the shorter and cheaper flights. “Of course people will also be interested in going back to Thailand now as it is very much into heavy promotion.”
Inbound, over-all data showed that we were still able to reach the desired target for foreign visitors despite the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking and the travel advisories. As early as the third quarter of 2010, Alberto disclosed that were already “3.2 million visitors from other countries.”
At the same time, more Filipinos are traveling within the country. “Domestic tourism in the Philippines is very good. Tourism (industry) is increasing and increasing every year,” she says. The promos that airlines are giving have been playing a big part. “Filipinos make advanced planning now because of the promo fares.”
Last year’s show brought in about 80,000 visitors, featured 416 booths with 230 participants and had the theme “Ready, Jet-set, Go!” which presented offers that would allow visitors to travel by air, water, rail or road within or outside the Philippines.