It is about time ‘green’ and ‘gold’ tourism become more accessible to the mainstream travel market. This is what ‘Travel Street: Philippine Travel Mart’s 1st Green and Gold Tourism Fair’ aims to initiate.
Organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association* (PHILTOA) with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Bonifacio Global City, this travel fair is unique and is the first of its kind in the country.
“This travel fair is in line with our association’s advocacy to promote inclusive, responsible, and sustainable tourism,” said PHILTOA President Cesar Cruz during a one-on-one interview with Tech and Lifestyle Journal. He emphasized that the open-air fair will bring together the concepts of Green or Ecotourism (nature tourism, ecoadventure, and agro-tourism) and Gold or Cultural Tourism (ethnic, cultural, historical, religious, and health & wellness tourism) into the mainstream.
Sustainable and ‘feel-good’ tourism
“Through the first Green and Gold Tourism Fair, we put the focus on sustainable tourism and bring to the public carefully curated eco-cultural tourism products. We hope that with this, we are able to spark renewed interest in other tourism destinations that the Philippines has to offer and of course, raise our tourism revenue,” Cruz added.
‘Travel Street’ is also in line with the declaration in 2017 of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). “Numerous seminars, symposiums, and other events were mounted globally for that. This is our way of bringing it to the country,” said Cruz.
The fair is also focusing on what Cruz described as ‘feel-good tourism.’ “Nowadays, it is not enough that you take a vacation in a destination. There has to be some form of interaction. We promote the contribution of tourists to the community—financially or culturally. We travel, we experience, we respect. And then we feel good about it. We should all be responsible not just for the cultural aspect but also for the environment,” he explained.
Weekend travel fair
This first-of-its-kind outdoor travel fair is now being held at the Globe Iconic Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater (from May 4 to 6, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.). There are over 60 exhibitors, comprising of government institutions (including the National Commission for Culture and the Arts or NCCA, the DOT and its attached agencies, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and its attached agencies, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and private sector players (like tour operators, travel agencies, accommodation providers, transport companies, and airlines, among others).
For its part, BGC also expressed its gratitude to be part of this initiative. “BGC is thrilled to bring ‘Travel Street’ to the public, and we believe we have the perfect venue to promote sustainable and responsible tourism, especially to the millennial market,” said BGC Associate City Marketing Manager Joanne Magno. PHILTOA cited the area’s high foot traffic and its inherent mix of middle- and high-end crowd, which it said further bolsters the fair’s potential.
Guests can buy or book tours that are up to 70% off during the three-day weekend travel fair. “More than that, we want communities in destinations to benefit. This is our way of helping those villages,” said Cruz.
*PHILTOA is also the organizer of the annual Philippine Travel Mart, which is set this year in September.