The Department of Tourism (DOT), in cooperation with the Tourism Promotions Board, recently hosted the annual Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Adventure Travel Conference and Mart 2021 last May 26 to 27 at the Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort via hybrid format as part of the safe reopening of PH tourism.
Over 300 participants gathered virtually for the hybrid event, with only 60 attendees allowed on-site. A total of 35 Philippine sellers participated in the business-to-business and networking activities.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that this year’s conference and travel mart support the rebuilding of confidence in travel and prepare for the reopening to the international markets.
“The Philippines’ hosting of the PATA vATCM is aligned with the goals of the Tourism Response and Recovery Plan (TRRP) to develop and promote tourism products that are competitive and responsive to the needs of the New Normal in travel and tourism,” she said. “The theme of regenerating adventure tourism bodes well with the profile of the country’s product offerings steep in adventure and the outdoors, and further bolstered by our pristine and unmatched natural assets.”
Meanwhile, PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy shared the same sentiment as he noted renewed hopes for tourism amid the growing number of vaccine rollouts worldwide. “With vaccine rollout plans beginning to take shape across the world, there is new hope in the resumption of regional and international trave;,” Hardy said.
The annual summit focused on the adventure tourism niche market, which has been recognized as a global tourism trend.
Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon noted that the opening nature-based adventure sites offers open-air, low-impact and highly valuable travel experience while still adhering to safety protocols.
In his speech, Bengzon underscored the need to have a regenerative tourism strategy to revive the once booming industry of tourism. He cited that the COVID-19 pandemic shrunk global tourism arrivals by 74% equating to about a billion less arrivals last year. “This was a direct impact of border closures and stringent travel restrictions in all tourism markets,” he said.
This directly affected tourism gross domestic product which recorded a decline of US$ 2 trillion or more than 2% of the entire world’s GDP.
Despite the slowing down of tourism, it gave time for the industry to recalibrate its strategies. DOT’s Tourism Response and Recovery Plan (TRRP) is the response to the current industry’s situation and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It is in partnership with private-sector stakeholders through the Tourism Congress of the Philippines and in consultation with the World Bank.
The main objectives of the TRRP are to (1) protect and ensure employment and business survival; (2) enable government and private sector to work cohesively towards a sustainable and resilient tourism industry for the future; and (3) provide policies and guidelines for the new normal.
Bengzon calls on both public and private tourism professionals to participate in the realization of this recovery plan to see a clearer path towards tourism recovery. “We must all be accountable,” he said. “This is the call of our time. Just like an orchestra, we are playing the same composition with different instruments. May we all play our parts well and harmonize together for our future.”