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PTAA Hero, Pandemic President – Michelle G. Taylan.

There is no denying that this pandemic hit our country, its people and its economy, terribly. With our tourism industry receiving the hardest blow, it was surely a challenge to be presiding over the Philippine Travel Agencies Association. However, this was a challenge fit for our PTAA Hero, our Pandemic President, Ms. Michelle G. Taylan, who not only helped the industry survive, but also did everything to make it bounce back.

Before becoming the President of the PTAA, Michelle Taylan first served as its Secretary General, giving her the knowledge and experience in leading the country’s largest Travel Agency Association. Taylan was also a businesswoman; she first founded Klik ‘n Fly Travel and Tours in 2011 while taking her Masters Degree in Business Administration. The inspiration for opening a travel agency in our country stemmed from working as an in-house travel consultant for Koreans, realizing that she can offer this service, not only to her kababayans and Korean clients, but also to people all over the world and with that, Klik ‘N Fly was born.

Challenges from Day One

Starting her term in the middle of the pandemic was the first of many hurdles for Ms. Michelle. Along with her PTAA Presidency, she was also serving as the Secretary General for Federation of Asean Travel Association (FATA), surely juggling these two roles was not an easy feat. With the eruption of the Taal Volcano at the beginning of 2020, to the further onset of the COVID-19 and the travel restrictions that came with it, all PTAA members were left with no choice but to cease operations and focus on other businesses to survive.

As a first step to helping her people, Taylan led the appeals to DILG for the rationalization of business tax computation, discount on business fees, postponement of lease payments, and even waiving of operational fees, all in the spirit of bayanihan. When vaccines started to roll out, her voice was also heard pushing for the prioritization of tourism frontliners’ vaccination.

Spearheading “Bigas Mula sa Puso”, Ms. Michelle started giving sacks of rice as a help to her fellow tourism workers. She and her team were able to distribute 300 sacks of rice in the first batch, further urging others to donate, should they be able to. Later on, PTAA also followed suit with a similar project called “Bigas Kalinga sa Panahon ng Pandemya” which distributed sacks of rice all over NCR and the Rizal area.

Defying the odds

With brighter days expected for the year 2021, the former year was spent preparing for it. Various hybrid trainings and webinars to prepare new protocols were held to make sure traveling can be as safe as possible and sure enough, the new year came with a slight ease on the travel restrictions. Taylan saw this as an opportunity to start the revival of our country’s tourism industry and with this, PTAA successfully launched the first ever face-to-face Travel Trade show since the pandemic! Expectations on customer turn up was low since the country still had travel restrictions during this time, but miraculously these restrictions were eased on the first day of the exhibit!

The yearly PTAA Travel and Tour Expo, despite being pushed back and postponed numerous times, were also successfully held under Taylan’s pandemic term, providing explorers options on which destination on their bucket list to check first. Travel agencies and accommodations from all over the Philippines delightfully attended the expo and showed the travelers the new normal in travelling. Gratitude from business owners poured out to Taylan as they are finally seeing a light at the end of this seemingly hopeless situation through sales made from the expo.

As part of her tourism recovery projects, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Association (MATTA) and Taiwan Visitors Association (TVA). This aimed to strengthen tourism exchanges, promote each other’s sightseeing spots, and to increase the number of tourists for both parties. Ms.Michelle Taylan was also one of first travel agents to be invited by the Jeju Tourism Organization to help in reopening South Korea’s border to tourists.

Defeating all odds, we can all agree that Michelle Taylan has led this organization to success despite the unending obstacles on her PTAA Presidency. She is set to end her term on a victorious note as the biggest and grandest PTAA Travel and Tour Expo is happening soon this Feb 3-5, 2023, at the SMX Convention Center, with a theme “A Bigger and Stronger Future of Travel is Here” offering irresistible deals and huge discounts to aspiring travelers.

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