PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has successfully hosted the country’s first international MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) event this year amidst the challenges and limitations posed by the pandemic.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat today (May 26) expressed her satisfaction with the Pacific Asia Travel Association virtual Adventure Travel Conference and Mart (PATA-vATCM) annual summit, saying it mirrors the confidence that the industry will be able to recover from the pandemic.
Staged in a hybrid set-up, the PATA summit took place at the Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort at the Clark Freeport, Pampanga. It was attended by some 300 participants, of whom only 61 were allowed on-site in accordance with the government’s minimum health standards and social distancing requirements. A total of 35 Philippine sellers participated in the business-to-business and networking activities.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with PATA in organizing this travel mart and conference in a hybrid format, as we continue to pursue a safe reopening of the Philippines’ tourism destinations. This event is a testament that the Philippines is a trailblazer in hybrid events and that we can show the world that M.I.C.E. can be done safely,” Puyat said during the opening ceremonies.
This year’s summit was mounted in collaboration with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and focused on the creation of opportunities for adventure and responsible tourism.
Puyat stressed that the country’s enhanced product and market development will pave the way for this particular tourism product.
“Presently, the Philippines retains its pro-active stance in exploring new innovative tourism products, including adventure tourism that will contribute to fast track the recovery of the sector within the Asia-Pacific region. Being primarily an outdoor activity, and with obvious resemblance to the baseline requirement for a healthy and safe travel, it presents an opportunity for a strong reversal and onward growth,” enthused the tourism chief.
“While Adventure Tourism has been recognized as a global tourism trend and tourists shift their interest to new destinations and experiences, the Philippines’ unique 7,641 islands have a lot to offer,” added Puyat.
Puyat also cited the DOT’s Tourism Response and Recovery Plan (TRRP), as a helpful guide to the industry towards recovery and sustainability.
She said the TRRP aims to protect and ensure the employment and business survival of industry stakeholders during and post lockdown measures, as well as provide policies and guidelines for the New Normal. Still, Puyat noted that the recovery plan will enable both the public and the private sector to work cohesively towards a sustainable and resilient tourism industry.
The Bangkok-based PATA is the association of government and private travel organizations that aims to promote and develop travel and tourism in the Pacific region.
The PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart is a niche event consisting of both conference and travel mart components. The event brings together tourism professionals from the public and the private sector to discuss the creation of new opportunities in promoting environmental protection and social sustainability, and address the issues faced by adventure travel, responsible, and sustainable tourism industries
In line with the objective of a safe and responsible tourism reopening, Puyat awarded the Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp, the world’ first safety and hygiene stamp for travelers to recognize governments and businesses that have adopted global health standardized protocols.