Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is emerging stronger from an internal crisis, with the new board of trustees outlining plans to enhance and improve it moving forward.
Newly-elected president, Mariegel Tankiang Manotok, said a membership drive is ongoing to bring in new members and bring back those who did not renew their membership.
The 648 members pre-pandemic that dwindled to 299 in 2023 is slowly going up to 400 plus members and targeted to reach 1,000 by 2025.
The organisation of the yearly Travel Tour Expo (TTE) – the country’s biggest – is being studied now, to explore the possibility of it being hosted not just in Manila but also in the Visayas and Mindanao. Manotok said instead of them coming to Manila, PTAA will go to them.
This year’s TTE, held from February 2-4 at SMX Manila, will be the biggest and grandest in all aspects, said Patty Chiong, past PTAA president and chair of TTE 2024. The two exhibition floors are sold out with 702 exhibitor booths from 25 countries.
The new board is also pushing for more CSR initiatives, such as looking into the purchase of boats for boatmen in Pagsanjan, Laguna; sustainable tourism training for communities; and collaborations with slow food (a global movement acting together to ensure good, clean and fair food for all) movement in the provinces, among others.
To unite members, Manotok shared: “In the coming months, we will be organising workshops, brainstorming sessions, and interactive forums to facilitate the exchange of ideas for us to inspire, empower, and unite all our members.
“PTAA thrives when every member feels valued and engaged. We will implement membership programmes to enhance communication, collaboration, inclusivity, and expansion within our community. By fostering a supportive and diverse environment, we strengthen the collective voice of PTAA and create a platform for innovation, growth, and shared success.”
While a problem-free journey cannot be guaranteed, Manotok stressed that “our focus will be on fortifying ourselves with a solid foundation to effectively address any future challenges”.
“The key here is that we are willing to serve our members with passion, dedication and true spirit of service for the love of PTAA. Together, we can build a future where our association adapts to change and thrives in it,” she added.
Outlining the vision for PTAA, Manotok said: “We will actively engage with policymakers and advocate for policies that support the growth and sustainability of the travel industry. By serving as a united voice, we can influence decisions that impact our profession and ensure that the interests of travel agents are well-represented at local, national, and international levels.”