ASEAN tourism groups kickstart post-pandemic sector roadmap
Representatives from different travel and tourism associations in Southeast Asia met in person for the first time since the onset of the pandemic to discuss the developments in the sector.
The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is part of the Philippine delegation in separate meetings with the Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA) and the ASEAN Travel Associations (ASEANTA) last July 4-5 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
PTAA President Michelle Taylan, who serves as secretary-general of FATA, shared during the FATA meeting about the successful mounting of the 29th Travel Tour Expo held face-to-face last June 24-26 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, Metro Manila. The annual travel trade expo is considered to be the biggest in the Philippines, with around 200 local and foreign exhibitors, attracting anywhere between 35,000 to 45,000 participants in the event’s three-day run.
ASEAN tourism groups saw this as a welcome development and an “indication that tourism is at the peak of recovery.”
“Our Travel Tour Expo is proof that there is pent up demand for travel and that people are just waiting for the storm to pass. And now, things are starting to look good,” Taylan said.
Demand for air travel is also starting to pick up, according to ASEANTA President Eddy Soemawilaga. He also mentioned that the airline industry is “having a good problem” as carriers work double-time to address high demand.
Other matters discussed during the meeting include Malaysia’s plan to expand their tourism promotion in the Philippines. The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) said it is planning to do roadshows and engage in more business with local tourism stakeholders in the Philippines.
“ASEAN travelers have always been a vital market for the region as a whole. We are here to help each other, to promote each other. Let’s keep trying to support each other,” Malaysia Minister of Tourism, Art, and Culture YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri said in her speech during the Aseanta networking dinner.
Shukri said they are likewise coordinating with airlines to request for lower airfares as tensions in Ukraine and other global events continue to affect fuel prices in the world market, pushing inflation rate up across countries.
The Malaysian minister urged travel and tourism associations to continue promoting intrazonal travel within ASEAN as a means to support the industry in the region.
Meanwhile, the PTAA continues to work with the government, regional counterparts, and private sector partners in pushing for recovery within the sector.
“We managed to keep our tourism players afloat, whether in the form of subsidies, extended loan programs, and even in–kind donations from bayanihan. I believe we can regain our footing soon as long as we continue extending a helping hand to each other,” Taylan said. —
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