In fulfillment of the vision of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. for the Philippines to become a tourism powerhouse in Asia and the world, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is poised to banner the country’s best tourism offerings in back-to-back participations to key travel and trade events next month, the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 6 to 9, 2024, and the Seoul International Travel Fair (SITF) 2024, to be held at the COEX Convention & Exhibition Center in Seoul, South Korea on May 8 to 10, 2024.

Established in 1994, the ATM 2024 is considered as the gateway and leading global travel and tourism platform for the Middle East inbound and outbound travel industry, facilitating $2.5 billion in deals and attracting thousands of exhibitors and travel trade visitors from around the world.

Meanwhile, the SITF, also known as the Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA), serves as the largest international travel fair in South Korea. With its 38-year history, SITF / KOTFA combines inbound, outbound, and “intra-bound” tourism sectors in one marketplace to foster mutual relationships among a multitude of diverse tourism businesses.

“With the momentum from increased tourist arrivals from the Middle East and the resurgence of Korean tourists to the Philippines, it’s vital to sustain our visibility at travel and trade events like Arabian Travel Market and the Seoul International Travel Fair. We look forward to these opportunities to share the Filipino story to the rest of the world as envisioned by our President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., and to reinforce the Philippines’ position as a preferred destination and top-of-mind choice for travelers from these important source markets based on our strengths, not just our sun and beach and naturescapes, but also our diverse offerings on gastronomy, culture, and most importantly, Filipino tourism workers, who serve as our best asset for their distinct hospitality and warmth,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said.

On its 30th edition last year, the ATM received a record-breaking attendance of 40,000 people, and gathered more than 2,100 exhibitors and representatives from over 150 countries at the DWTC, demonstrating the booming travel and tourism sector in the Middle East.

A total of 16 participating hotel and resorts, tour operators, and destination management companies shall compose the Philippine delegation to the ATM 2024 led by Secretary Frasco, to be assisted by Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines Chief Operating Officer (COO) Maria Margarita Montemayor Nograles.

“There’s been a remarkable surge in outbound tourism from the Middle East, particularly from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Based on the data from Future Market Insights, we see a growing appetite for international travel among GCC citizens and we see this trend continuing to rise in the coming years. This is one of the major reasons why we are doubling down on our efforts to maintain and enhance our presence in the Middle East. With our continued participation at the ATM, we aim to position the Philippines as a top-of-mind destination in Asia,” COO Nograles said.

Among the participating Tour Operators/Destination Management Companies include Annset Holidays Inc.; Ark Travel Express;; Boracay Adventures Travel N Tours; CTPH Tours; Rajah Travel Corporation; and VIA Philippines Travel Corporation. Meanwhile, delegates from the hotel and resorts include Atmosphere Resorts & Spa (Dauin, Negros Oriental); Bellevue Hotel; El Nido Resorts (El Nido, Palawan); Lihim Resorts, El Nido by Araw Hospitality Group (El Nido, Palawan); Lalaguna Villas Luxury Dive Resort & Spa (Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro); Lihim Resorts; The Manila Hotel; Megaworld Hotels & Resorts; Okada Manila; and The Farm at San Benito.

Meanwhile, this year’s SITF / KOFTA will be the platform of local and international tourism organizations from more than 70 countries to promote their respective tourism resources and cultures. In 2023, a total of 1,130 exhibitors comprising 284 international and local companies from 43 countries participated in the SITF, and attracted approximately 50,000 visitors to the fair.

Coinciding with the 39th SITF is the staging of the World Tourism Industry Conference (WTIC) on May 9, which will serve as an important gathering of tourism ministers and industry leaders and a cornerstone for encouraging cooperation for sustainable global tourism, analyzing existing and emerging issues in the global tourism industry, and expanding international cooperation business opportunities.

The tourism chief also has important meetings lined up for UAE and South Korea, including with leaders and representatives from airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, and travel-related organizations and stakeholders to explore better marketing and business opportunities for the Philippines to bolster its campaign to achieve its tourist arrivals target for 2024.


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