Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) 2023, an event organized by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, exceeded all expectations that resulted to a record-breaking Php296 million in negotiated sales, outdoing last year’s hybrid event that sold around Php173 million, during its two-day table-top meetings held in September 20-21 at the Fili-NuStar Hotel in Cebu.
Graced by Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and TPB Chief Operating Officer Marga Nograles, this year’s PHITEX brought together 164 seller delegates representing 119 esteemed Philippine companies and welcomed 88 foreign buyers from 19 countries. The event showcased the very best of the Philippines, presenting its most enticing tourism attractions, establishments, services, and products to a global audience.
The success of PHITEX 2023 was nothing short of remarkable. Day 1 saw PHP 55,171,600 in sales, and Day 2 brought an astounding PHP 232,964,100, resulting in a grand total of PHP 296,213,032 in projected income, which also includes proceeds from sponsorship and participation fees.
Secretary Frasco, delivering the keynote address, expressed profound gratitude to the entire delegation, emphasizing the remarkable achievements in Philippine tourism recovery, including a record-breaking arrival of over 3.8 million international visitors as of September 19, 2023, and an estimated revenue of over PHP 316.9 billion.
Frasco also highlighted the unique appeal of the Philippines as a destination, underscoring, “The inclusivity of this program beckons international buyers to explore the rich diversity that our country has to offer. But what truly sets us apart as a tourism destination is no other than the best asset of Philippine tourism—the Filipino people.”
PHITEX 2023 chose the theme, “Tourism Sustainability in the Era of Internet of Things (IoT),” placing the spotlight on the country’s commitment to digitalization and sustainability to meet global demands. COO Nograles, in her opening remarks, stressed the need to go beyond mere business transactions and underscored TPB’s efforts to organize post-tours, allowing international buyers to experience grassroots initiatives, local textiles, culinary treasures, and other eco-tourism activities.
“Amid this transformative surge, the tourism industry must be poised for action. We must not only embrace this digital evolution but also guide the way, ensuring that tradition coexists harmoniously with modernization,” Nograles emphasized in line with the expanding IoT, which is reshaping the entire industry and the tourist experience.
In addition to its primary B2B function, PHITEX also served as an innovative knowledge-sharing platform through its Philippine Educational Program (PEP) Talk. This year’s installment, held at the Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark in Lapu-Lapu City, explored the latest advancements in IoT, data privacy, and circular economies, featuring speakers such as Maria Raisa Ysaac-Orbon of Packetworx Inc., Maricel Gatchalian-Badilla, PhD. of UP Asian Institute of Tourism, Atty. Francis Euston R. Acero of Meralco; Barry Lim of Frost and Sullivan-Singapore; and Geoff Andres, Property President of the City of Dreams Manila, who generously shared their expertise and knowledge, aligning with the most current tourism trends and sustainability initiatives. The event also promoted gender equality, empowerment, and inclusivity, with discussions led by experts in the field.
Post-event tours for foreign buyers, starting from September 22, will offer themed activities across various regions of the Philippines, catering to different interests — Manila-Rizal, Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon-Davao, Coron Palawan, Boracay-Romblon, Cebu-Dumaguete, Pampanga-La Union, and Ilocos Norte and Sur.
The PHITEX 2023 event was organized in collaboration with various partners, including NUSTAR Resort Cebu, Fili Hotel – NUSTAR Cebu, Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Inc., Uni-Orient Travel, Inc., The Muse Hotel Boracay, Wine Club, Charlton Trade, Cebu Pacific, 2GO, and Bigseed Public Relations and Events. In-kind donations were generously provided by Engkanto, Angkas, and Barcino, and guests were treated to a variety of giveaways and tokens of appreciation from Sunnies Studios, Klook, and Bench.
PHITEX 2023 also received invaluable support from the Department of Tourism Region VII, the Office of the Provincial Governor of Cebu, and the local government units (LGUs) of Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Carcar City, Argao, and Talisay.