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Business Unusual: TPB’s PHITEX goes Virtual

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is set to mount the virtual edition of the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) on 22-24 September 2020 with more than 100 Philippine  sellers  and  100  foreign  buyers  to  gather  in  one  online  platform  for business-to-business sessions and networking.

Travel and events may have temporarily stopped because of the global coronavirus pandemic, but  the Philippines  aims to  drive the industry forward by  staging the virtual edition of this year’s PHITEX themed “PHITEX Pivots: Business Unusual.”

“Amid the immense challenges for the tourism industry, TPB is leveraging on digital technology as a platform to sustain and explore new opportunities and markets,” states TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Anthonette C. Velasco-Allones. “With this e-conference setup, we endeavor to update our tourism market stakeholders from all over the world with the latest Philippine tourism offerings.”

Hinging on the concept of business unusual, what makes this year’s PHITEX even more exciting is the hybrid aspect in which Philippine sellers will get a first-hand experience of travel in the new normal. Panglao in Bohol will be the official venue of  the  sellers  for  the  virtual  networking  with  international  buyers  where  strict safety protocols are implemented to ensure participants’ well-being. This initiative will provide stakeholders new approaches to boost tourism.

Panglao in Bohol is being highly-considered by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as one of the first islands to reopen to international tourists once travel restrictions are eased given the province’s pool of dedicated leaders, low number of COVID–19 cases, beautiful beaches, resorts, dive spots, and other tourism attractions, and a new international airport.

A  highlight  of  this  year’s  PHITEX  is  the  Travel  Exchange  (TRAVEX),  a  series  of exclusive   business-to-business   appointments   between   Philippine   sellers   and foreign buyers, happening for the first time in virtual booths. The online market space is customized to feature each company’s range of products and services in high definition videos, digital product collaterals, and one-on-one chat rooms for more focused and effective networking with prospective buyers.

PHITEX also puts together various avenues of information for tourism stakeholders in the context of the global pandemic. The event will showcase a webinar series where  tourism  industry  experts  will  share  insights  on  topics  such  as  effective marketing  strategies  during  crises,  embracing  the  power  of  technology,  green destinations, and principles in developing sustainable tourism.

Interview sessions featuring local and international key tourism stakeholders will emphasize    recovery    strategies,    ensuring    tourism   business    continuity    and underscoring   the   need   for   greater   impact   and   strength   in   collaboration. Roundtable  discussions will also  pool together  leading players in the industry to tackle issues posed by the pandemic and how stakeholders can embrace resilience and innovation.

Other activities include Philippines 360 – series of online games and quizzes that deal  with  Philippine  culture  and  the  arts,  and  topics  discussed  throughout  the event;  and  Videos-on-Demand  which  allow  event  participants  to  replay  key moments  from  the  event  and  view  content  such  as  tourism  marketing  videos, highlights of past TPB events, links to film tourism with English subtitles, cooking videos, travel videos and more. A specially curated virtual tour of Manila, dubbed as the Philippines’ Capital of Fun is also one of the event highlights, showcasing the city’s unique blend of old world and new culture.

The country’s biggest government-organized annual travel trade event since 1996, PHITEX has  already  averaged  190  buyers  from  31  countries  and  138  Philippine sellers.

Registration  is  free  of  charge.  Interested  buyers  and  sellers  may  register  via www.phitex.ph  where  qualified  participants  will  receive  an  access  code  to  the event. DOT-accredited suppliers of Philippine tourism products and services as well as TPB members are given registration priority.

PHITEX is organized by the TPB, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT) as part of its mandate to market and promote the Philippines domestically and internationally as a preferred tourism and MICE destination that prides itself with diverse and fun travel experiences.

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