Friday, 26 September 2014

World Tourism Day (Far Eastern University, Manila)

Guest speakers, teachers and students in one big World Tourism Day selfie

Consul Michael Alexander M. Ang
The U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is celebrating World Tourism Day this year with its theme entitled “Tourism And Community Development.”  To celebrate it, the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (ITHM) of Far Eastern University hosted a symposium held at the FEU Main Auditorium.  

Guest speakers during the symposium were Mr. Michael Alexander M. Ang (Honorary Consul of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), Mr. Christof Wegner (Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany) , Mr. Thelmo Luis Cunanan (Honorary Consul of the Republic of Georgia) and Ms. Anna Marie Ablan (Honorary Consul of the Republic of Belarus). 
Mr. Wegner and Consul Ang with their Plaques of Appreciation
Mr. Christof Wegner of the German Embassy
The first speaker was Mr. Ang who presented the traditional and non-traditional tourist sites of Jordan, notably Petra (a UNESCO World Heritage Site featured in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “Transformers: World of the Fallen”), the Dead Sea (the lowest and saltiest spot on earth), the stupendous and timeless Wadi Rum, the ancient Crusader stronghold of Al Karak, the fortified hilltop palace of Macaherus (location of the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist), the Jordan River (site of the baptism of Jesus Christ), the ruins of the Graeco-Roman city of Jerash and the Red Sea resort city of Aqaba
The FEU Bamboo Band
Consul Thelmo Luis Cunanan
Mr. Buddy Cunanan delivered a political, historical and cultural overview of Georgia as well as its tourist attractions which include over 12,000 historical and cultural monuments, four of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Bagrati Cathedral (Kutaisi), Gelati MonasteryMtskheta, and the Upper Svaneti. 

Special mention was made of the latter, the highest inhabited area in the Caucasus (four of the 10 highest peaks are located here). This historic province, in the northwestern part of the country, is inhabited by the Svans, an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians.  Svanetia is known for its architectural treasures, with dozens of Georgian orthodox churches and various fortified buildings, and picturesque landscapes.  Mr. Cunanan also presented a teaser video on Georgia tourism featuring lively Georgian dancers.
Consul Ablan and Consul Cunanan with their Plaques of Appreciation
Consul Anna Marie Ablan
Christof Wegner, on the other hand, gave an overview of the tourist infrastructure of Germany.  Incidentally, Germans are the second biggest tourist group from Europe coming to the Philippines.  

Ms. Ablan narrated her travel experiences, with her daughter, around Belarus, presenting slides of their observation of the country’s cottage industries.  In between proceedings, the audience was regaled by the performance of the FEU Bamboo Band.  After the presentation of plaques of appreciation, the speakers gamely joined the students and teachers for a group selfie.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The 25th Philippine Travel Mart (Manila)

The 25th Philippine Travel Mart

The Negros Occidental Pavilion
The yearly, 3-day Philippines Travel Mart (PTM), the biggest travel trade exhibition in the promotion and marketing of domestic and inbound tourism, is the longest running travel trade exhibition in the Philippines.  

Now on its 25th year of staging (thus the logo “Its 25X More Fun in the Philippines”), this year’s staging was the biggest and most meaningful, with 245 exhibitors, truly worthy of this silver anniversary celebration. 
The Visit Davao Pavilion

The PTM is organized by the non-stock, non-profit Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), the biggest association of DOT-accredited tour operators and allied agencies (hotel, resorts, transportation companies, handicraft stores, and other tourism-oriented establishments) and associations that are actively involved and exclusively promote domestic and inbound tourism.  

The PHILTOA, with its nationwide membership, has been at the forefront of domestic tourism promotion, partnering with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its regional offices.

The author at Oriental Mindoro Pavilion
Tourism Quiz Bee

The double decker jeepney
This year’s Travel Mart had more colorful exhibits, 25 “Pasasalamat” Sale ng Bayan Tour packages, and bigger & exciting cultural events, making sure that 25th Philippine Travel is 25 times More Fun In the Philippines.  

Also on display is a sleek, airconditioned 40-seater double decker jeepney, designed by industrial engineer Mark Bautista and built by the Jeepney Company, Inc.,  with refrigerator, videoke, 2 televisions, microphones and speakers. It has 2 doors on both sides, 2 stairs to the second deck, is painted yellow and shows the Department of Tourism slogan "It's More Fun in the Philippines." 

The 2Go Pavilion

In view of the forthcoming 2015 implementation of the ASEAN Integration, which aims to promote seamless and border-less traveling within the region and the adoption of the Mutual Recognition Agreement among the ASEAN nation members, the organizing committee of the 25th Philippine Travel Mart will, for the first time, now include ASEAN regional packages and Twin City packages (Philippines+1 ASEAN City).
The Zamboanga Pavilion

The Philippine Airlines Pavilion
The “Sale ng Bayan” sells travel packages of twinned Philippine destinations and ASEAN cities such as Boracay-Bali (Indonesia), Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)-Cebu, Laoag-Cambodia, Manila-Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), among others. The 2014 PTM will also showcase cultural competitive events like choral, cultural dance, the “Patimpalak ng Kasuotang Filipino,” the “Himig Kundiman” and the tourism quiz bee.

The Cebu Pacific Air Pavilion

This year's PTM  also racked up hundreds of must-grab travel deals on airfare and hotel stays.  Airline companies  such as Air Asia, Cebu Pacific Air (Php 1 fare to all domestic and ASEAN destinations, travel period from January 1 to March 2015) and Philippine Airlines, for instance, are slashing off their prices.  Local (as low as PhP2,307) and international (US$55) tours, inclusive of accommodation, round trip air transfers, daily breakfast and travel insurance, were also offered by tour operators. 
The ALMASOR Pavilion

Sili-flavored ice cream
The Bohol Pavilion, with its underwater theme featuring Anda as a new beach destination and the replica of the adrenaline-rushing bike zip of the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP), was awarded as the Best Pavilion in the Provincial Category. 

Votes are made by visitors, who are given 1 sticker upon registration.  They then place the stickers on a board designated for each pavilion. 
The ALMASOR (Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon) Pavilion offered delicious, bite-size pinangat slivers on crackers; halved tasty Guinobatan longganisas; packets of crunchy pili nut candies; luscious pili-infused chocolate bites; and gallons of sili and ginger-based ice cream (where a circling queue of eager visitors waiting patiently to have a taste).
The author trying out the bike zip at Chocolate Hills Adventure Park at the award winning Bohol Pavilion