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PH set to host hybrid world tourism summit in March 2022

TRAVEL TRADE EVENT. Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the opening of the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) 2021 at the ACEA Subic Beach Resort in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The event runs from Sept. 20 to 23, 2021 with the theme “Beyond Business: Co-creating Safe, Smart, and Sustainable Tourism”. (Photo courtesy of TPB Philippines)

MANILA – The Philippines is set to host the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in March 2022, the Department of Tourism (DOT) officially announced Tuesday.

The event was supposed to be held in the Philippines in October 2021 but was moved to 2022 due to global travel restrictions.

In a presser on Monday, Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Interagency Task Force has approved the hosting of the event considering the stringent health and safety protocols that would be put in place before and during the summit proper.

“We will be hosting this. This would be March of 2022. So the Philippines is already chosen. Actually, it was already approved by the IATF,” she said.

Around 800 delegates composed of leaders from the largest and most prominent international travel and tourism companies from airlines, hotels, resorts, travel agencies, and tour companies are expected to attend the event, with over 30,000 people participating virtually.

The WTTC Global Summit is widely considered the most influential event for travel and tourism professionals and stakeholders, providing opportunities for industry leaders to meet with policymakers and address the most pressing issues faced by the industry.

‘Boosting MICE’

The DOT is optimistic hosting this event will not only spur the country’s tourism sector but also strengthen Manila’s position as a competitive meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) destination in Asia.

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the DOT, is recalibrating the country’s MICE Roadmap to adapt to the challenges brought by the pandemic.

TPB chief operating officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones said the agency has started to identify destinations that are ready, willing, and able to host MICE events under the new normal.

Aside from the traditional MICE destinations like Baguio, Cebu, Clark in Pampanga, Iloilo, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro, Velasco-Allones said TPB is working with DOT-Western Visayas to prepare Boracay as a potential hub in the region.

“TPB is helping to promote, in fact, we have facilitated them to develop the Boracay roadmap for MICE. So hindi nalang talaga sya leisure. (So it’s not solely for leisure),” she said in the same presser.

Among others, TPB is also hosting the 8th edition of the Philippine MICE Conference next month, where MICE professionals will tackle key issues and concerns affecting the industry.

The global travel industry has suffered a decline of 72.9 percent in international visitor arrivals in 2020. 

The Philippines, on the other hand, registered a much steeper 82-percent slide from 8.26 million tourist arrivals in 2019 to just 1.48 million in 2020.

Based on its reformulated National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022, the DOT is currently looking at a recovery period of between two to four years. (PNA)

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