THE Department of Tourism (DOT) joined the rest of the Asia Pacific region’s cause for responsible development of travel and tourism as it hosted the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Summit in Cebu City.
“Together with PATA, we are firm believers of this year’s theme ‘Progress with a Purpose’, same in the belief that the agenda on sustainable development can be turned into a reality,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
This big-ticket event gathered close to 400 international and local tourism stakeholders including international thought leaders, tourism board officials, industry shapers, travel and tour operators, and the academe.
“The PATA Annual Summit is one of the best places to stay abreast with our peers in tourism, to get on the same page, and to inform ourselves with the latest analyses of this dynamic and multi-faceted industry,” Secretary Romulo-Puyat added.
The summit featured multiple insight presentations, panel discussions, committee meetings, and a youth symposium with discussions on sustainable destination branding, mainstreaming sustainable tourism global economy, current and future state of Asia Pacific tourism, facts and figures of the regional travel industry, BBC World News The Travel Show, data and insights for responsible development, and the sustainability of the Airbnb accommodation industry.
DOT Undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr. sat down at the “Destination Management in Times of Uncertainty” panel session and d the story of Boracay – its rehabilitation and journey to becoming the country’s model for sustainable tourism.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Maria Rica Bueno discussed the challenges of advocating barrier-free tourism in the country highlighting DOT’s deaf tour guide training program in the “Accessible Tourism for All” panel session.
“We are extremely delighted to have this event in Cebu, a city with a very rich historical and cultural heritage, some of the most magnificent white sand beaches and among the friendliest and most hospitable people in this side of the world,” DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. remarked.
Delegates experienced Cebu City’s heritage tour with visits to the historical Magellan’s Cross, Basilica Del Santo Nino, Fort San Pedro, and Parian District.
“PATA would love to come back anytime to the Philippines, the hospitality is wonderful, the places we get to visit are exceptional. We really appreciate the Philippines’ forward action on critical industry issues and the fact that they are moving sustainably and responsible tourism is something to be proud of,” PATA Chairperson Chris Bottrill said.
A silent auction, foundation charity dinner, Arnis demonstration, and insights lounge completed the four-day summit hosted at the “Queen City of the South”.