Friday, September 18, 2020

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 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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