NEGROS Occidental’s participation in Madrid Fusion Manila 2017 is seen to boost truly Negros products which are vital components of the local culinary tourism sector.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said Wednesday, March 29, that the province, as one of the exhibitors, is gearing up for this year’s event happening at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on April 6 to 8.

Mansinares said that through the trade expo, the province is given the opportunity to promote local products, especially organic processed produce, and other agricultural goods which Negros is known for like the endemic batwan.

Batwan is a fruit indigenous to the Philippines and a relative of mangosteen.

“The gathering is a potential platform for us to promote our new tourism brand – Land of Sweet Surprises,” she said, adding that Madrid Fusion has also been a regular venue to showcase the province's culinary gems.

Madrid Fusion Manila, now on its third year, is considered as a top culinary event in the country initiated by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Aside from exhibits, the annual event will also include conferences, sessions, regional lunch hostings, and other activities that could help boost local producers and chefs.

Through these activities, Negrenses can gain more knowledge on food and product standards, and can build links with potential local and international markets, Mansinares said.

For her part, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, in a report, said one of the agency’s top priorities is selling the Philippines as a culinary destination.

Teo said the event is designed to spur tourism, create awareness, and demand for agricultural and food products and culinary tour packages.

Madrid Fusion Manila also aims to promote trade and business partnerships in tourism and gastronomy.

DOT steps up its efforts in making the country a focal point of gastronomic interest worldwide, she added.