PHL, Albay tourism gets strong pitch at APTM 2015 opening

By Johnny C. Nunez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 27 (PNA) — Philippine tourism got a strong promotional push early this week from Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, the country’s first Tourism Star Philippines awardee, at the launch of the First Asia Premium Travel Mart (APTM) 2015 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Organized by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and SB Exhibitions to match some 100 local and international buyers, APTM 2015 was the first high-end business-to-business travel and tourism event held in the country.

Salceda made the aggressive marketing pitch in front of buyers from 31 countries and 87 local sellers which included Albay, and assured the guests they were “in the right place and at the right time and with the right people.”

TPB and SB Exhibitions invited Salceda to open APTM 2015. There were at least 62 international and 38 Philippine buyers during the event.

The governor received the First Tourism Star Philippines Award from the Department of Tourism early this year, for the decisive promotion of Albay, declared as the fastest growing destination in the country in 2013.

While making a strong pitch for the Philippines as a market essentially being reintroduced and at the verge of bursting into the global markets, Salceda assured the guests they have come to the right place and that they are talking to the right people, since Philippine tourism is a booming industry.

“I took the unique chance to promote Albay and Almasor (Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon Tourism Alliance). Included in my pitch of course were Mayon Volcano, two church ruins and 11 colonial churches; distinctive culinaria and delicacies; the local culture – dances, songs, language and history; the best ATV experience in the world; a place where one can find the smallest edible fish and the biggest fish in the world; our handicrafts and the warmest people on earth,” Salceda shared.

The governor also talked about the seven new international airports being built in the country, with the Bicol International Airport in Albay as the first to be completed by 2017, and which would open direct international flights particularly to the hubs of Incheon, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore and thus reduce air fares by USD 150 per person.

He also broke out the news about the new railway system, scheduled for bidding by the third quarter of the year, which would reduce travel costs and land travel time from Manila to Legazpi from the current 14 hours to only five hours. Another major development, he added, would be the extension of South Luzon Expressway from Lucena to Legazpi, and then to Matnog town in Sorsogon.

“It was one of those rare moments in our lives when we are given a chance to make a difference which is sure to generate positive consequences in the lives of ordinary people. It is one benefit of being chosen as the first Tourism Star Philippines,” said Salceda of his APTM 2015 guesting.

TPB officials and major players of the Philippines travel and tourism industry congratulated Salceda for the aggressive marketing pitch, which caught robust interest of the audience who were mostly foreign buyers. (PNA)