Clark, Pampanga— Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expressed confidence on domestic tourism as key to the country’s economic resurgence, hailing the maiden edition of the North Luzon Travel Fair held from 18-20 November 2022 at SMX Convention Center in Clark, as critical to the revitalization of tourism.
“That is why all of our Regional Directors from the entire country are here today. To bring back home the good news that North Luzon is ready for the revitalization of tourism in this part of the country,” the Tourism Chief was quoted as saying.
With the overarching theme “Weaving our Way to Recovery,” Secretary Frasco in her keynote message said that the North Luzon Travel Fair was expanded out of her Listening Tours initiated upon assumption to office.
“A little over 3 months ago, I visited Clark and touched base with our tourism stakeholders, players from various sectors, including the aviation, hotel, tourism services, tourism operators, travel agencies and other tourism industry stakeholders. And in this listening tour, our stakeholders enumerated the various challenges that they faced in the past few years. Subsequent to that, I spoke to our Regional Directors from North Luzon who echoed the same sentiments and there they shared of their plans to hold a North Luzon Travel Fair and I express my unequivocal support but added the requirement that the North Luzon Travel Fair should not only be limited in its exposure to people in North Luzon but to everyone from across the Philippines,” she reiterated.
“Not only will the (fair) give exposure of our local government units, our eco zones, our bases, our hotel, resorts and other accommodations, service, agencies and tour operators be limited to this travel fair but more importantly our Regional Directors will proceed from this travel fair to actually visit the regions of North Luzon to be able to ensure that they from the central and southern regions of Philippines would be able to bring the domestic tourist from their side of the country to your side of the country,” Secretary Frasco added.
The Tourism Chief also proudly shared that the Philippines continues to be a top of mind destination all over the world. She added, “only that in this period of recovery, it is critical for us to ensure that we continue to improve the enabling mechanism of coming to and going to around the Philippines.”
She reiterated that tourism remains to be a top priority of the Marcos Administration. “The message of the Department of Tourism, led by our President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is that tourism is a priority, which intends to leave no regions behind in the development of the industry. Not only will we limit ourselves to the promotions of our sites but most importantly we will ensure the institutional development of the entire industry by introducing changes by addressing gaps and most importantly by listening to the needs of the stakeholders,” she added.
3.8 million visitors in North Luzon
During the event, Secretary Frasco announced that North Luzon has already logged 3.8 million visitors from both domestic and foreign tourists as of today, Nov. 18.
“And while recently, we have reopened our country to international travel, I can see that we are well on our way to recovery because you are well on our way to the 9.6 million arrivals that you had in this side of the country prior to the pandemic,” she added.
The Philippines is open for business
Secretary Frasco also reiterated the openness of the country to receive guests in The New Normal.
“We are grateful to our President Ferdinand “Bonging” Marcos Jr. for laying down the necessary tools to ensure this openness and readiness of the Philippines. He has issued executive orders to the effect of lifting the outdoor and indoor Mask Mandate,” she added, ensuring that fully-vaccinated guests are no longer required RT-PCR test when coming into the Philippines. In addition to this, she said the Philippines now allows foreigners with just a negative anti-gen test.
“The Philippines is open, the Philippines is ready to receive tourists and investments all over the world and North Luzon is ready to lead the way to light up the Northern Philippines,” Secretary Frasco concluded.
Highlights of the 1st North Luzon Travel fair
The North Luzon Travel Fair is made possible with the cooperation of the DOT regional offices in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon, in partnership with Alliance of Travel and Tour Agencies of Pampanga (ATTAP) aimed at creating a one-stop-shop venue for industry collaboration, showcasing the domestic tourism destinations, products, services, delicacies, gifts and pasalubong items, as well as cultural presentations from the northern side of the Philippines.
The three-day event highlights (1) Business-to-Consumer (B2C) showcasing discounted packages, air tickets, accommodation, and other tourism-related products; (2) Business-to-Business (B2B) sessions which shall provide an opportunity for tourism stakeholders to experience innovative ways of developing business connections and update local industry partners with the latest tourism offerings; (3) Buyers Familiarization Tour of the North Luzon Regions; and (4) the Hibla ng Lahi Fashion show, a fashion show that would feature and showcase the regal and indigenous fabrics from the North Luzon regions to empower local Filipino traditions, culture and customs to thrive in the modern market and revive the handwoven culture.
After the travel fair, the TravEx participants will have simultaneous Post-Event Familiarization Tours to Ilocos Region (Region I), Cagayan Valley (Region II), Central Luzon (Region III), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), extending the benefits of the tourism value chain to the local communities, stakeholders, and destinations of Northern Luzon.
Other participating regions in the North Luzon Travel showcased some of their finest crafts and tourist destinations are DOT National Capital Region (NCR), IV-A (CALABARZON), IV-B (MIMAROPA), VI (Western Visayas), Region VII (Central Visayas), VIII (Eastern Visayas), Region XII (SOCCSKSARGEN), and XIII (CARAGA).
Other partners in support of the North Luzon Travel Fair include the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPB), Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Digital Out-of-Home Philippines (DOOH), and Philippine airlines as the event’s partner airline. The North Luzon Travel Fair is managed by Total Exhibit and Expo Solutions.