THE annual Travel Tour Expo (TTE), organized by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), opens on Thursday with at least 400 organizations participating, the highest number in its history.
Marlene Dado Jante, PTAA president and TTE 2018 organizing committee chairperson, said the unprecedented growth of TTE coincides with its 25thanniversary. She also said its growth challenges the PTTA to explore their “options on how they can expand TTE beyond its current format.”
The TTE, an annual travel and tourism event in the country, has a lot of room for growth, PTTA officials said, citing the 21-percent jump in the number of exhibitors this year compared with 2017.
“When we open on February 8, it will be a very special moment for the country’s tourism industry as TTE will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Since 1993, we have been bringing together stakeholders under one roof,” Jante said.
“We are playing a key role in the growth of Philippine tourism. This is the reason why we are pushing forward and searching for ways to evolve the expo from its venue, program, and offerings to the public,” Jante added.
The TTE will occupy the entire SMX Convention Center and cover more than 16,000 square meters of floor space.
During the period 2011-2017, the number of exhibitors had grown by 30 percent. This year, the TTE will occupy all the meeting rooms of the SMX Convention Center
“In November last year, when we held our exhibitors briefing, we had at least 60 companies and organizations waitlisted. It was a significant number that we had to address because we want the TTE to host as many industry players as we can,” Jante said.
Beyond the Philippine tourism stakeholders, the TTE plays host to hotels and resorts, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, theme parks, and national tourism organizations from overseas. It also features embassies and regional tourism offices, and local government units.
Simultaneous with the TTE is the 3rd edition of the International Travel Trade Expo (iTTE).
The iTTE is the business-to-business (B2B) component of TTE which allows PTAA members to have pre-appointed one-on-one meetings with executives from international tourism companies and national tourism organizations.
Among the countries and territories expected to participate in iTTE are Australia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, France, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Vietnam.
Two of the options being looked at by the PTAA is venue expansion or holding the TTE at two different locations.
“The PTAA has to seriously consider having a plausible secondary venue open along with SMX in the future because of the sheer number of exhibitors that want to participate. At the same time, we also see the iTTE becoming a key element of the country’s tourism industry. There is really a need for more space,” Jante said.
However, she said that any expansion has to make sense logistically and within the fiscal capacity of the PTAA. She added that venue for the TTE has to be easily accessible to visitors coming from any location.
“We want to ensure that there will be no glitches during the expo specifically on all the exhibitors’ internet access. Transactions have to be seamless during the expo and the public must be able to book their travels with ease,” Jante said.
“Over the years, the TTE has prided itself as the one-stop-shop for all the travel needs of our countrymen. We intend to keep and even exceed that commitment,” Jante said.
This year’s TTE is supported by the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Philippine Airlines, Mabuhay Miles, and Citibank.