A TOTAL of 70 mixed ASEAN Travel Forum (ATF) delegates have visited four provinces in Central Visayas for the post-ATF tour last month, an official from the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 said.

DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo said the delegates, who were grouped in two, had a taste of different activities, local food and entertainment during their stay in the region.

Of the 70 delegates, 45 of them picked the Visayan Charm Cebu-Bohol leg for three days and two nights while the other group, composed of delegates from the United States, Singapore, Hungary, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, Denmark, China and Turkey, opted for the Negros-Siquijor tour.

Prior to the International Eucharistic Congress, the Philippines played host to the 35th edition of ATF in Manila. ATF is a cooperative regional effort to promote ASEAN as one tourist destination.

The event held last from Jan. 18 to 22 was anchored on the theme “One Community for Sustainability”.

The annual convention aims to project ASEAN as an attractive, multi-faceted single destination; create and increase awareness of ASEAN as a highly competitive regional tourist destination in the Asia Pacific; attract more tourists to ASEAN-member countries; promote intra-ASEAN Travel; and strengthen cooperation among the various sectors of the ASEAN tourism industry.

The event also hopes to promote the exchange of ideas, review of industry developments and joint formulation of recommendations to further accelerate the growth of the ASEAN tourism.

The delegates who opted for Visayan Charm Cebu-Bohol post tour were brought around the countryside attractions of Bohol and experienced the mini Suroy-Suroy Sugbo tour in Argao and Carcar. Some also inspected properties in Bohol and Mactan and went island hopping.

According to Montecillo, the ATF post tours were a good opportunity for the region to showcase its inherent tourism potential. She believes it was a good marketing strategy to make the provinces of the region known to international travel and tour operators and to foreign media.

Five travel and tour operators from Cebu joined the five-day ATF event.

Cebu is among the 10 local government units that was featured during the ATF’s Travex event, a platform for the selling and buying of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN-member countries.

The Province of Cebu and the City of Lapu-Lapu sponsored this year’s pavilion at the ATF, which featured different tour packages prepared by the tour operators.

There were 32 business-to-business (B2B) meetings during the ATF Travex event.

The DOT 7 was scheduled to meet 13 buyers from Australia, China, Italy, USA, Sweden, United Kingdom, Singapore, Hungary and Korea to market the tourism potentials of Central Visayas.