Photo shows the Bacolod City Government Center situated along the Circumferential Road. The structure is popularly known as the “NGC,” or the New Government Center among Bacolodnons. WIKIMEDIA

BACOLOD City – Some 40 top international buyers visited Bacolod City and Negros Occidental in early September for a post-event tour of the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) 2018.

The guests, who came from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Malaysia, China, India, Korea, Japan, Russia, Norway, Netherlands, and Vietnam, were part of the 200 foreign travel operators who met with local sellers at the Marriot Manila in late August.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who hosted a welcome dinner for the delegates at the Bacolod City Government Center lobby, said he is glad Bacolod is one of the ten destinations chosen by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) to host a post-event tour.

“This means we are recognized as among the major destinations of the Philippines. These people are sellers and buyers of tours. The TPB hopes to maximize tourist traffic. This shows they have seen potentials in Bacolod,” he added.

Councilor Em Ang, chairperson of the City Council committee on tourism, said that after the intense business-to-business (B2B) sessions between the foreign buyers and local sellers, the TPB aims to impress the international participants further with post-event tours in pre-selected destinations.

Aside from Bacolod, other post-event tours are taking place in Bicol, Davao, Palawan, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Sumilon, and Ilocos Norte.

“These tours are targeted to let them experience why it’s more fun in the Philippines, and encourage them to include these destinations in their travel and tour packages being sold at their respective market coverage,” the councilor added.

In Bacolod and Negros Occidental, the visitors joined a culinary, pilgrimage, and heritage tour.

Moreover, Leonardia said hosting the post-event tour validates Bacolod’s position as an increasingly popular MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) destination.

“It will also surely bring more tourists to our city and province as we highlight culture and heritage, food tourism, farm tourism and wellness, among others. Definitely, it will result to remarkable cultural and economic benefits for our city,” the mayor added.

This year’s PHITEX theme is “Tourism is our Business: Guarding our Environment, Reliving our Culture”. (PNA)

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