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Tourism roadshow aims to fill millennials’ need for new experiences

/ 08:08 PM September 02, 2015

With millennials emerging as a strong tourism market, this year’s Philippine Travel Mart will focus on the generation’s need for new experiences.

Promising tour packages, including destinations fit for a bucket list, and deals for as low as P1,000, the 26th Philippine Travel Mart (PTM26) is projected to be a virtual meet-and-match for the budget-minded traveller.

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“The millennial market is one of the strong markets that is coming out right now,” PTM26 chairman and Philippine Tour Operators Association president Cesar Cruz said in Tuesday’s launch at the Makati Diamond Residences of the exhibition. The event will be held from September 4 to 6 at the SMX Hall, Mall of Asia, and will feature 250 exhibitors, including airline companies.

Cruz pointed out, “For this generation, travelling is a part of their budget… They have a budget for every destination. These are people that do not look for luxury destinations because they prefer experiential destinations.”

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According to Cruz, millenials value interaction with locals in their chosen destinations.

He said that Philtoa’s partnership with the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc and the G-Eco Tours on community-based eco-tourism projects would serve the objective of providing tourism packages for millenials.

Kapamilya Foundation chairperson Gina Lopez said that her group has been engaging in eco-tourism projects to help uplift the lives of residents in far-flung communities.

“Philippines can get rid of poverty and my conviction is that the way to do it is by nurturing the beauty that surrounds us and doing it in such a way that benefits the community,” she said.

Lopez cited Ugong Rock Adventures and the Iwahig River Firefly Watching Tour, both in Puerto Princesa City, among her foundation’s successful eco-tourism initiatives.

She said that Ugong Rock used to be in a poor community whose residents, mostly women, eked out a living. The foundation, Lopez pointed out, invested in 2008 some P250,000 for ropes and spelunking gear and promoted the area in free advertisements aired over The Filipino Channel and the ABS-CBN network’s other media companies.

“We created a lot of traffic there and then eventually so many people were going there … It’s now one of the prime eco-tourism places in Puerto Princesa,” she said, adding that the families helped its evolution into a multi-million-peso endeavor.

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For the Iwahig River, Lopez said that the foundation put up a P250,000 startup capital enabling it to be Asia’s best eco-tourism site in 2010. Boatmen, according to Lopez, are paid P15,000 monthly for three hours of work every night.

She said that the foundation has also invested P1.5 million in three other projects in Puerto Princesa City: a floating restaurant; a snorkelling spot; and a dolphin-watching tour.

“Let’s get the country out of poverty. I ask for five things: a commitment to integrity; a commitment to care for the environment; a commitment to love; a commitment to working together; and not to drink and smoke too much,” she said.

Cruz pointed out, “The fun really continues and at the same time we are helping those communities, the far-flung areas,” adding that the Philtoa has formed a consortium to oversee communities that the G-Eco Tours and the foundation have adopted.

For this year’s Philippine travel mart, Cruz said that they will use a QR code system, intended to show their preparedness to take on the millennial market. Through the QR code system, visitors at the exhibition can immediately learn of the available travel packages even if they are still at the lobby where scanners and readers will be setup.

Twinning packages, he said, include Southeast Asian destinations or the three countries of Japan, Korea, and China plus domestic tourism sites to show that the Philippines can be a hub for intra-ASEAN travel.

Also to be featured in the exhibition are three categories of packages: the “pack-and-go;” “fly-and-go;” and the bucket list. The first category includes packages using land travel; the second, destinations that can only be reached by aircraft; while the bucket list packages involve the destinations less travelled or are “low-impact.”

Such destinations include: the Gigantes and Calaguas Islands; Romblon; and Catanduanes.

“For those people going to the Philippine travel mart, I’m sure they will always find a budget for every travelling need that they want,” Cruz assured.

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TAGS: 26th Philippine Travel Mart, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Cesar Cruz, G-Eco Tours, Gina Lopez, INC, millenials, News, Palawan, Philippine Tour Operators Association, Philippine Travel Mart, Philtoa, PTM26, Puerto Princesa, Tourism, Travel, Youth, youth travellers
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