ORGANIZERS of the International Travel Festival (ITF) 2019 have identified China as an emerging destination for Filipinos.
Stephanie Villahermosa, general manager of the ITF, said Cebu’s improved connection to China is attracting Cebuanos to explore the country’s different provinces.
Cebu, through the Mactan-Cebu International Authority, is currently connected to key destinations in China, namely Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen.
Other destinations in Asia that are gaining tourism traction are Cambodia and Vietnam.
To entice more Cebuanos to explore the country and the world, MyEventology Co. is mounting the sixth edition of the ITF in July 2019.
Dubbed as one of the biggest travel fairs in Cebu, ITF 2019 will run from July 12 to 14 at the Ayala Center Cebu. This year’s ITF targets about 105 exhibitors.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) sees events like the ITF, as a complementary activity to the agency’s call for Filipinos to get to know the country’s newest destinations, aside from exploring the tourism attractions abroad.
“The ITF, as it has been for the past five years, conveys the increasing demand to bring international and local tourism products and services closer to travelers,” said Gelena Asis-Dimpas, DOT 7 tourism development division chief, during the ITF launching on June 27 at the Grand Convention Center.
Dimpas said the ITF helps in the tourism development of Central Visayas as it gears toward striking a balance between sustainable tourism for the environment and more domestic and foreign tourists.
“ITF complements what we have been working on campaigning and lobbying for. There are four focal areas like the sustained increasing tourist arrivals, improved connectivity, safety and security programs and upgrading of time-tested tour packages in Cebu,” Dimpas said.
The ITF saw growth in the past years in terms of exhibitor participation from 92 in 2017 to 97 exhibitors in 2018.
Harry Inoferio, senior assistant vice president for Philippine sales of Philippine Airlines, said affordable and competitive rates from various airlines would make traveling easier.
“We have always been growing our involvement in our major hubs in Manila, Cebu, Clark and lately, Davao,” he said.
Inoferio said famous domestic destinations like Clark, Camiguin, Siargao, Bacolod and Iloilo remain favorites of leisure-loving travelers. (JOB)