The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2024 concluded on a high note for the Philippines, yielding over 400 million Philippine pesos in negotiated sales leads during its three-day business-to-business sessions from January 24 to 26, 2024 in Vientiane, Laos.
The Philippine delegation, led by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, was represented by 15 local exhibitors from the airline industry, hotels and resorts, tour operators/ destination management companies, and convention center to network and engage with 79 international buyers.
“The impressive turnout of the Philippine delegation at the business-to-business sessions exceeded our expectations and reflects the strong interest in the Philippines’ diverse tourism offerings. The fruitful interactions between our local stakeholders and international buyers have strengthened existing partnerships and paved the way for new collaborations. We look forward to bearing its remarkable fruits this year,” said TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Margarita Montemayor Nograles.
The Philippine pavilion showcased the country’s award-winning destinations including Intramuros, Palawan, and Cebu alongside a captivating display of the T’boli people’s rich cultural heritage through traditional patterns from the t’nalak weave. Booth visitors also enjoyed a cup of Antipolo, Rizal’s famed Kaulayaw Coffee.
TPB and DOT also hosted a special function at the Grand Ballroom of Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel to introduce Philippine cuisine and culture to the global stage, and to announce the country’s hosting of the 36th Joint Meeting of the United Nations (UN) Tourism Commission for East Asia and the Pacific & the UN Tourism Commission for South Asia (36th CAP-CSA) and 1st UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific in Cebu in June.
The event brought together delegates from different National Tourism Organizations, Philippine tourism stakeholders, international buyers, and media for a taste of curated flavors of Filipino cuisine by Chef Don Baldosano of Linamnam restaurant and to enjoy a variety of cultural performances by homegrown talents.
Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Inc., the Philippines’ oldest distillery, proudly sponsored the late-night function, delighting attendees with a selection of signature beverages such as Paradise Mango Rum, Manille Liqueur De Dalandan, Manille Liqueur De Calamansi, Intramuros Liqueur De Cacao, and Amadeo Coffee Liqueur.
Meanwhile, the Philippines earned distinction at the ASEAN Tourism Awards, a prestigious recognition program that honors excellence in tourism businesses and destinations within the ASEAN region.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco acknowledged the winners during the Philippine-hosted function, noting that they have championed not just the Department’s set of standards for the local tourism industry but the whole region as well, “I extend my congratulations to all the winners of the ASEAN Tourism Awards, and I extend, especially my heartfelt congratulations, to my fellow Filipinos—our Filipino tourism establishments—who managed to clinch these most prestigious awards this evening. Truly, you are the pride of the Philippines.”
Palawan-based property Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort was named lead partner for “Enchanting Gastronomical Sabang Delights, Beach Forest and Caves” under the ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Awards.
Awardees for ASEAN Clean Tourist City include the cities of Baguio in Benguet, Ilagan in Isabela, and Tabuk in Kalinga.
Prime properties Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Club Paradise Palawan, Bohol Beach Club, Seda Nuvali, and The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay were recognized as among the best in the ASEAN Green Hotel Award.
The ASEAN Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) Venue Awards also recognized 15 Philippine venues for their high-quality facilities and outstanding performance. The awards were divided into three categories: meeting room, exhibition hall venue, and event venue category.
Bai Hotel Cebu, Clark Marriott Hotel, Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort, Princesa Garden Island Resort & Spa, and Seda Hotel Nuvali won the ASEAN MICE Venue Award for the meeting room category.
World Trade Center Metro Manila (Manila Exposition Complex), SMX Convention Center Manila, Cordillera Convention Hall by Baguio Country Club, Isabela Convention Center (ICON), and Iloilo Convention Center bagged the ASEAN MICE Venue Award for the exhibition hall category.
Rounding up the list of awardees for the ASEAN Mice Venue Award for the event venue category were Palacio del Sur by Marcian Group, Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark Cebu, Infinity Garden by Baguio Country Club, CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center, and Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa by Modern Asia, Inc.
The TPB and DOT are poised to leverage the momentum gained from this event to elevate the Philippines’ position as a premier tourist destination in the ASEAN region.