Farm sellers, culinary tourism, travel executives and foreign buyers engaged in business-to-business (B2B) networking sessions during the Culinary Tourism Travel Exchange (CTTE), the first in the three-year history of Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM) 2017.
The B2B, conceptualized by Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo her self, is a response to the increasing attention on the Philippines as a center of food and gastronomy and intends to aggressively promote culinary tours to the country.
Held the whole day of April 7, Friday, at the meeting room of the SMX Convention Center, the B2B networking activity had two sessions. The three-hour morning session was participated by 35 local sellers of culinary tourism destinations, farms, and culinary travel sites or properties with 13 Metro Manila-based tour operators. The four-hour afternoon session involved the same domestic tour operators and culinary tourism destinations as sellers and 25 international travel agents as buyers from Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Middle East and the US.
“Networking activities facilitate communication about the destination and all pertinent matters on an interpersonal basis. In this way, travel details and direct business deals can be generated for all concerned,” MFM Project Director Verna Buensuceso said.
Participation was free of charge as invitees were only required to register and attend a pre-CTTE briefing conducted by the Market Development Group-Department of Tourism.
During the B2B sessions, 10 minutes was allowed for each sales pitch and subsequent discussion on packages, amenities, and facilities plus rates.
According to Sales and Marketing Executive Jun Jun de la Cruz of the Nurture Wellness Village, international buyers always asked if a property is connected with an accredited travel agency or tour operator.
“We have an 80-hectare farm in Botolan, Zambales, which has fruit and vegetable plantations, carabaos which we milk daily, and accommodations are being built in the typical Philippine design. Our farm will provide the fresh air, local color and unhurried way of life for domestic and international visitors from urban areas,” said Dr. Naomi Joy Dilodilo, president of S4K Farms.
Officer-in-Charge Zeny Pallugna of the Department of Tourism office in New York said, “this culinary travel exchange and farm tourism are so apt for the American mainstream market because their travels are always associated with food. From the gastronomic offerings of the Philippines, we can easily repackage our tourism products.”
Culinary and farm tours can be customized into the itinerary, particularly for the super luxury travelers. These tourists who usually travel in small groups belong to the senior market.
As differentiated from mass tourists, luxury tourists travel in private jets and stay in upscale accommodations. They devised their tailor-made itinerary based on the destination’s distinct attractions and property’s amenities. Their only complaint about being in the Philippines is being served too much good food.
Like Cebu and Bohol were included as destinations in a round-the-world tour for 16 senior travelers who spent more than US$ 129,000 each. They were accompanied by the travel company’s president.
Another recent example is the group of 130 scuba-divers who visited Manila, Corregidor, Tagaytay, Cebu and Boracay. Their tour included cooking demonstration of native dishes and lecture by a marine biologist on the propagation of coral reefs. Each spent US $9,800.00 with emphasis on fine dining in posh restaurants.
Responsible, sustainable and inclusive tourism is really into every American traveler’s mind. A niche market for travelers is called “giving back” which is also related to voluntourism. Students, professionals travel to overseas destinations with the intention of immersing themselves in a depressed communities for a while and then proceeding to a tourist destination for relaxation.
There’s this case of ARK travel or Advancement for Rural Kids Foundation in New York, which regularly hold auctions of native items from the Philippines. These items which are sold cheap here are easily purchased in thousands of dollars. A part of tour package price is also donated to a kid for a year-long support,” Pallugna added.
Mark Atienza, Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Sales Manager for Travel, disclosed there were a lot of inquiries on wedding packages from air and land transportation, accommodations, wedding ceremony and reception as well as honeymoon destinations prompting them to develop new lines of packages suited for Chinese and Japanese tourists. This is where culinary and farm tourism come in plus the hotel’s food festivals. (TGU)
The three-hour morning session was participated by 35 local sellers of culinary tourism destinations, farms, and culinary travel sites or properties with 13 Metro Manila-based tour operators.
The four-hour afternoon session involved the same domestic tour operators and culinary tourism destinations as sellers and 25 international travel agents as buyers from Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Middle East and the US.