By Ma. Christian A. Ramos
The Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO), partnering with 12 private business stakeholders, placed first runner-up for “Best Booth” at the 28th Philippine Travel Mart last September 1-3, 2017.
A travel expo held at the SMX Convention Center in Manila, Travel Mart gathered local government units (LGUs) along with hospitality and business establishments to showcase their best packages, promotional deals, and other tourism-related services.
According to Provincial Tourism Officer Aian Raquel, Ilocos Norte’s participants were “very satisfied with the result of their sales – that’s the best indicator of the success of our presentation because this is a trade show. It is important that we were able to promote our province through the sales of our private counterparts.”
Ilocos Norte’s booth was inspired by the Paoay Convent Ruins, one of the more recently opened tourist attractions in the town of Paoay. The actual Ruins are situated to the left of the San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The booth was designed by Ohm David, a renowned set director and designer of local and international theatre acts. He also designed the Taoid Museum of the Ilocano Cordilleras, which opened in Laoag City in 2015.
At the three-day affair, Ilocano small and medium enterprise (SME) products were showcased alongside the INTO presentation. Dubbed “PinakBest,” local food items like Ilocano empanada and longganisa, chichacorn, garlic, sukang Iloko (vinegar), and dragonfruit were sold and at lower manufacturer’s prices.
Other establishments that were able to advertise their services and packages were: Aboex Travel and Tours, A&A Express Travel, Hannah’s Beach Resort, Ilocos Heritage Tours, Ilocos Norte Convention and Visitors Bureau, Java Hotel, Pangil Beach Resort, Rio Grande Resort, Rivermount Hotel, Travel Ilocandia, Vybe Hotel, and Ziur Inn.
Raquel expressed hope that more Ilocano businesses will be encouraged to participate in next year’s Travel Mart.
This year’s show also highlighted the Visit ASEAN @ 50 Golden Anniversary through cultural events such as a national costume competition, dance competition, and tourism quiz bee.- (Ma. Christian A. Ramos, PGIN-CMO)