NEGROS Occidental and its capital Bacolod City were chosen as among the post-event tour destinations of at least 40 top foreign travel operators in this year’s Philippine Travel Exchange (Phitex).
The travel operators who voted for the province and its metro form a part of the 200 participants of Phitex, the country’s largest government-led travel and trade event being held from August 28 to September 4.
The post-event tour in different provinces in the country follows a three-day business-to-business session with local sellers at Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.
Phitex 2018 is organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) through the Tourism Promotions Board.
Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said Monday, September 3, that Phitex 2018 delegates are from United Kingdom, Bahrain, China, Malaysia, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Italy, India, Russian Federation, Korea, and Vietnam.
Mansinares said most of these foreign travel operators are buyers who purchase local packages and resell them as part of their Philippine promotion.
“They are going around the country to check on the amenities and even experience themselves the tour packages before offering them to their respective markets,” she said, adding that Negros Occidental and Bacolod City offer mixed tours on “culinary, culture and history.”
The provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Guimaras are the post-event tour destinations of the foreign delegates in Western Visayas.
Other destinations in the country visited by the other participants included Dumaguete City and Siquijor in Central Visayas, Puerto Princesa City and El Nido in Palawan, Banaue and Sagada in Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Bicol, and Davao regions.
“We are happy that Negros Occidental is among the provinces they visited for their post-event tour,” Mansinares said, as she thanked DOT-Western Visayas, which recommends to the National Government the destinations to be included in the tour.
This event is a platform seen to provide opportunity for the province to increase its foreign tourist arrivals “as they are top tour operators of their respective countries,” she said.
Negros Occidental Tourism Division records showed that foreign tourists only comprised six percent of the province’s total tourist arrivals in 2017.
A big chunk of 93 percent in the province’s tourist arrivals in 2017 is given by local or domestic tourists, while the remaining one percent accounts for returning overseas Filipino workers, records showed.
“We are ready for [foreign] market as we have accommodation and facilities which are at par with the standards that foreign tourists would need,” she added.