The Department of Tourism (DoT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines joined the ITB Berlin Now! 2021: The Digital Meet-up of the Travel Industry. Anytime. Anywhere held 9 to 12 March.
Held virtually for the first time, the event provided a platform to more than 3,500 exhibitors from 120 countries to network, exchange ideas, stay well-informed and negotiate business with market players and tourism service providers from all over the world.
This year’s ITB Berlin featured digital networking, high level panel discussions and lectures, virtual exhibition area, videostreaming, virtual cafes and an intelligent matchmaking tool which provided an innovative opportunity for businesses.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and TPB COO Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones led the Philippine delegation, together with 25 tourism stakeholders from travel agencies and hotel/resorts, in highlighting the country’s latest tourism developments and product offerings.
Annually, ITB Berlin welcomes 10,000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries and over 1,000 qualified top buyers. In 2019, the event attracted 160,000 visitors, of which, 110,000 were buyers and 50,000 were consumers.
Green Corridor Initiative
The DoT is banking on the Green Corridor Initiative (GCI) in Rizal as one of its key strategies to hasten tourism recovery in the new normal.
This was announced by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on 10 March as she visited Rizal to help address the needs of local executives and industry stakeholders.
Puyat also expressed support for the proposed tourism circuit called Rizal Faith, Food, Art, Adventure and Nature (FFAAN) Experience under the GCI.
“The GCI is a domestic tourism program for tourism recovery in the new normal, designed to encourage more travelers to visit the multi-faceted province of Rizal, a place that abounds with nature, adventure, arts and culture, and, of course, food,” Puyat said.
Among the activities and sites seen by the tourism chief were the pottery demonstration at the Crescent Moon Cafe and Studio Pottery in Antipolo; a tour in the ancestral home of National Artist for Visual Arts Carlos “Botong” Francisco in Angono; a portrait session with the local artists of Nemiranda Art Gallery in Angono; the Balaw–Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono; St. Clement Parish Church in Angono, and Blanco Family Museum in Angono.
Like the other circuits under GCI, the FFAAN Experience in Rizal can be tailor-made to fit one’s preference, as long as the activities and attractions are in Antipolo, where pilgrimage sites can be found; in Angono or the “Art Capital of the Philippines; in Taytay or the “Woodworks and Garments Capital,” and in Cainta, where native rice cakes such as bibingka and kalamay are top favorites.
Rizal is the top contributor of the 2020 overnight tourism arrivals, sharing 395,364 or 36 percent of the total number of the region’s total tourism arrivals.
The province is also the top contributor of the 2020 same-day tourism arrivals, sharing 7,200,454 or 60 percent of the total number of the region’s total tourism arrivals.