Philippine International Tourism Fair (PITF) 2010

Cebu’s tourism industry leaders are optimistic their sector will continue to grow this year, believing the world economy is on a clear path to recovery.

Robert Lim Joseph, chairman emeritus of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies-Philippines Inc. (Naitas), said he is confident the group can gather at least 100 foreign buyers and 120 sellers to participate in the Philippine International Tourism Fair (PITF) 2010.

He challenged local travel agents to come up with more packages that will attract foreign and local travelers to visit Cebu and encourage them to stay longer.

He cited packages that relate to the environment, adventure, agriculture and marine biodiversity, following the trends and demands to travelers today.

Cecille Sa-a, past president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operators (Cato), said the travel industry is buzzing with business as large groups of Russians and other nationals are coming to Cebu.

Just this month, the cruise ship MS Spirit of Adventure brought more than 300 British and French nationals to the country though its ground handler Blue Horizons Travels and Tours Inc, managed by Sa-a.

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said cruise ship tours are complementing the country’s chartered flights and are fast becoming a “competitive source” of arrivals from Europe, the United States and Asia.

While the Philippines continues to receive foreign travelers, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is urging the public to spend their holidays in the country to contribute to the local economy.

Apart from the country’s eight anchor spots — Boracay, Palawan, Davao, Cebu, Bohol, Vigan, Baguio and Manila – DOT is also promoting other potential destinations like Camiguin Leyte, Mindoro, Occidental and Oriental Negros, Siquijor and Quezon for their pristine waters and coastlines.

This year, the country will join other member-nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) in the signing of an open skies pact that will liberalize air travel among member-countries.

This new agreement, part of the ASEAN agenda that covers an economic recovery plan by 2015, will allow regional carriers to make unlimited flights to the group’s 10 capital cities.

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