TOURISM can be another gateway for Cebuano export products to capture the attention of foreign buyers, a top official of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) said.
“You don’t necessarily have to go out and promote your products. Your tourism (industry) is already a strong marketing tool to help attract buyers to look at your products. Tourism can help show what you’ve got,” said ECCP president Guenter Taus.
He advised that Cebu should slowly do away with the traditional T-shirt souvenir printing as it has plenty of materials to offer to the tourism and export markets, which have more value-added.
ECCP has been assisting Cebuano exporters in producing export-quality products using natural, organic and eco-friendly materials via material manipulation for the lifestyle sector, which covers fashion accessories, furniture, gifts, decors and houseware.
Europe is said to be the biggest market for Cebuano creative exports.
According to Taus, Europeans put more value on products that are made from sustainable manufacturing practices.
“Europeans are the eco-tourism and adventure kind of tourists. When they come here, they don’t only experience your rich and natural tourism spots like diving and mountains but are also attracted to export souvenir products that have a connection with the environment and sustainability,” said Taus.
He added that if Cebu can market well its products to foreign tourists while they are here, the export sector will not have difficulty in penetrating or introducing its products to other foreign markets because it already captured European travelers, who can become product ambassadors.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Oxford Economics estimate that the travel and tourism industry earns $6 trillion or 9.5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). Close to 260 million people are employed in the industry.
By 2021, travel and tourism is predicted to account for $9.2 trillion of global GDP and 324 million jobs.
With this influx of tourists, ECCP said it creates a need for crafts reflective of a destination’s story, culture and identity.
ECCP Cebu recently unveiled the Materials Innovation Centre’s (Matic) exhibition called Craft+25@dashboard, a showcase of interplay between traditional crafts and digital media.
“A display of crafts captures the importance of tangible expressions of heritage, history, and culture as these elements unify to form a tourist destination’s identity and flavor. Essentially, to carry home craftwork from specific destinations could translate into bringing a portion of their identity,” said ECCP Cebu in a statement.
The exhibition showcases a display of crafts from creative destinations around the Philippines and Asia— Cebu and Bohol, Philippines; Damyang, South Korea; Chiangmai, Thailand; and Hanoi, Vietnam.
Likewise, it features the Travel Retail Incentive Program (Trip) items from the Department of Trade and Industry. Trip is a program that aims to connect communities with the growing travel retail industry.
Trip national consultant Butch Carungay said the program has already covered 11 regions in the country.
The immersion program seeks to develop communities that have promising products to become sustainable, gain market access in the local tourism value chain and eventually in the international market.