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EXPERIENCE biking in Banaue.



Best escapes and thrills in travel fair

By Vangie Baga-Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:02:00 09/07/2008

Filed Under: Tourism, Travel & Commuting

MANILA, Philippines - Travel buffs should brace themselves for great travel and holiday escapades at the 19th Annual Philippine Travel Mart Sept. 12-14 at SM Megamall?s Mega Trade Hall, Mandaluyong City.

Dubbed ?Triple X: Xtreme Adventure, Xtreme Wellness and Xtreme Leisure in the Philippines,? the travel fair showcases packages featuring the Philippines? great outdoor activities such as surfing, rafting, sailing, hanging on a 30-ft bridge and trekking the jungles to commune with the world?s rarest birds.

Yes, you can experience the thrill of exploring the country?s wild side at the three-day travel mart, the foremost exposition for Philippine travel, tourism, culture and lifestyle. Organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa) with the Department of Tourism, the fair focuses on adventure travel that attracts the public?s growing taste for extreme rush and recreation.

?We wanted to present the Philippines as an adventure destination,? said Cesar Cruz, president of Philtoa and chair of this year?s travel mart. ?The exposition is designed specifically for the domestic market or the in-bound tourism. You see, there?s still a lot to discover in our own land?from bird-watching in Cebu to spelunking in Boracay, ocean kayaking in Bohol, volcano-crater kayaking in Mount Pinatubo, river-tubing in Kidapawan and rappelling in Cagayan de Oro.?

Cruz said domestic tourism is breaking new grounds. The signs of development are energizing the industry. Last year?s travel mart has yielded significant domestic tourism interest from the public.

?Many years ago, the Filipino traveler would only go to places where he or she has family, or knows someone who can be a host or a tour guide,? Cruz explained. ?But now, the tour packages at the travel mart have made it possible for us to go everywhere, even to places where we don?t know anyone.?

?All of us are marketers of this country,? said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, who throws his full support behind the travel mart. ?The Philippines is heaven because there are so many things that we can package and sell as a tourism product.

?If you want an urban experience, this is part of it. You go to Makati or SM Mall of Asia area. If you want nature-based activity, visit Cebu and Davao. If you want tradition and culture, every region and province has something to contribute. From a marketer?s point of view we can never run out of products. It?s a matter of one?s perspective and how to package it.?

This year?s exhibitors include tour operators, airlines, spas, hotels and resorts, all representing the country?s 17 regions. Their exhibits will be housed in beautifully designed pavilions.

Travel Mart offers discounted airline tickets and package rates exclusive to the three-day event. Last year?s biggest draw was the Sale ng Bayan, which sold one-way airline tickets for P18 pesos to mark Travel Mart?s 18th year. This year, you can design your own travel and adventure trip beginning with a P19 Sale ng Bayan airline ticket or an exciting offer of Buy One, Take Ten tour packages.

?The Travel Mart has always been a venue for introducing new travel products,? Durano said. ?I?m excited this year because we will be featuring innovative tour packages for adventurous travelers. In a way, this is a world preview of sorts because what we will be launching here will also be launched internationally thereafter. We will take it to France, Russia and New England.?

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