THE PHILIPPINE Department of Tourism is concluding its marketing efforts for 2012 with a trade mission to North America from November 30 to December 7 in conjunction with Philippine Airlines, which will inaugurate its Manila-Toronto flight this week.
The roadshow, which covers Toronto, Montreal and New York, will also be a springboard for the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA)’s formal launch of its Philippine Island Fun Caravan Getaways programme, also known as Island Getaways.
“For the past three years, we’ve been doing fam tours and exposure trips for our members as a part of the product development process. We were able to come up with 17 regional packages that represent the 14 regions of the country,” said Cesar Cruz, PHILTOA president.
City tours of Metro Manila as well as regional packages in the Islands Getaway programme will now be sold year-round by a 19-member PHILTOA consortium, which in turn will sell these to consumers or other travel companies.
Previously, these packages were only available during PHILTOA’s yearly Philippine Travel Mart show in Manila, traditionally held in September. PHILTOA has also partnered with a local telco to print brochures for international tour operators.
“The only area we didn’t include is Zamboanga; otherwise, all regions are represented,” noted Cruz. “(Next year is) election year. Traditionally, anything can happen.”
National elections coincide with government efforts to implement a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao, announced in October.
“If things turn out ok, it will be good for Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan,” added Cruz, referring to islands within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which, together with areas of neighbouring Zamboanga, have a long history of political unrest.