By Melo Villareal and Pau Gutierrez
The Philippine Travel Mart, which started purely as an exhibit initiative under the Department of Tourism 30 years ago, has since grown to become the longest-running and most exciting interactive exposition of Philippine destinations with new surprises introduced each year. This 2019, it taps into the vibrant youth-driven market with its experiential exhibits, affordable flights & tour packages, and introduction of novel destinations that are sure to fill bucket lists and fulfill every traveler’s #travelgoals.
With this year’s iteration featuring over 250 exhibitors including tour agencies, hotel and resort owners, tourist transport companies, local government units, national tourism organizations, the Department of Tourism and its attached agencies, and hospitality-related companies—here’s a rundown of some of the best deals you can score, as well as special cultural performances and competitions you can witness, when you visit the travel exhibition’s last day tomorrow at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City:
1) Airlines will be offering discounts for both local and international destinations
AirAsia announced that it will be offering special promo fares and flight bookings from Clark to domestic destinations for as low as Php790 and from P1,690 for international destinations. Flights from Manila to domestic destinations can also be booked from P1,290 and to international destinations from P2,190. The travel period for these deals is from November 20, 2019, to September 8, 2020.
National flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will also be offering discounted rates as part of its Ultimate Seat Sale promotion, where fliers who will book until September 3 can get a chance to book domestic flights for a base fare of Php69 and international flights for USD69.
2) Time to see the Philippines
Heading to Western Visayas? Local tour operators like Las Islas Travel and Tours is offering Gigantes Group of Islands Joiners Tour for only Php 799 per head inclusive Private Island hopping activity with professional tour guide and beachside lunch with Gigantes scallops.
How about Palawan? Travelers can also avail of discounted rates for their Palawan trips, with connectivity activations for El Nido, San Vicente, and Puerto Princesa. Ready for Batanes? There are booths offering North and South Batan as well as Sabtang Tours.
Want to have a peaceful retreat without going far from the Metro? Check out the Antipolo Booth, where partners like Café Lupe, Loreland Farm Resort, Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa, Philip’s Sanctuary and many more are offering special rates to travelers.
3) Discounted Tour Packages to ASEAN Destinations
With the ASEAN integration, there are also tour packages available for Southeast Asian countries with easy access to exotic locations such as Bali, Siem Reap, and Ho Chi Minh. Packages are likewise available for popular destinations in Japan, China, and Korea.
4) Witness special cultural performances and competitions
Apart from travel deals, Philippine Travel Mart also aims to showcase Filipino talent through school-based competitions in Eco Chorale, Himig ng Kundiman, Patimpalak ng Kasuotang Pilipino, Cultural Dance, and the Philippine Tourism Quiz Bee Finals.
5) Learn more about the Philippines from various tourism movers
To view the Philippines from a foreigner’s perspective, popular Youtuber Kulas of Becoming Filipino will be giving a talk on what he loves most about traveling through the country. He will be joined by other advocates in sustainable and inclusive tourism from among the government sector at the PTM opening. A meet and greet with local TV personality Derek Ramsay is also organized at the La Union Pavilion.
6) Win travel vouchers
Participants will get a chance to win travel vouchers from partner hotels and tourism establishments. Winners will be picked every two hours during the event.
7) Visit regional pavilions showcasing the region’s heritage and tourist spots
Aimed at showing travelers from all over the world the Philippine’s rich art, tradition, and literature, various regional pavilions set up booths featuring their provinces’ unique products, cultural costumes, and traditions, as well as various tourism destinations.
8) Promote sustainable tourism
Carrying the theme “Fostering Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism,” the Philippine Tour Operators Association, or Philtoa, supports environmental protection by advocating the use of electronic boards rather than non-biodegradable materials in its marketing campaigns and materials.
9) Take Instagrammable photos in colorful booths within the complex
Take a photo against the colorful tapestry of colorful weaves and tastefully-crafted booths all lined up within the massive SMX complex. At the entrance, there’s an immaculate white miniature creation of the Capiz church decorated with LED lights, go a little farther and there’s a scuba-diving themed installation designed for that perfect #instashot.
10. Shop products, taste regional delicacies, support local
The Philippine Travel Mart is also a food exposition of sorts—one where regional delicacies are made accessible to Manila’s consumers, as well as a vast network of produce harvested by local farmers. By buying their products, visitors of the annual event also support employment and profit opportunities for Filipino farmers and their families.
Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
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