FOR those shopping for travel bargains in airfare, hotel accommodation and even buffet meals, they can hunt for these at the three-day 2014 TravelTour Expo beginning February 14 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, dubbed Love Life Love Travel.
Organized by the 500-strong Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), the event is expected to boast domestic tourism and foreign tour arrivals, said John Paul Cabalza, 2014 TTE organizing committee chairman.
Cabalza said domestic tourists are expected to reach 47.7 million in 2014 up from 44.1 million last year. This will rake in P1.4 trillion in revenues, higher by P110.6 billion in 2013.
Foreign tourist arrivals are expected to breach the three million goal last year with expected arrivals at five million in 2014.
PTAA Executive Director Marciano Ragaza 3rd said individuals and those arranging group tours can get instant discounts right at the SMX Convention Center where airlines, travel agencies, embassies, regional tourist groups and foreign tour agents from South Africa, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are joining the expo.
Ragaza said, just like last year, airlines and hotels would surely give discounts of up to 50 percent to even 80 percent. He added that discounts are usually valid for one year.
The 21st TTE is jointly sponsored by the Philippine Airlines and Citibank credit card.
Exhibitors will occupy 534 booths, with 53 travel agencies and tour operators, 28 airlines, 5 cruise liners, 14 local and national tourist organizations, travel product suppliers, theme park, food and regional delicacies, travel insurance and technology hub.
Cabalza said this year’s travel expo has innovations, like the introduction of medical tourism and the participation of foreign embassies. In fact, 38 countries were turned down since they could no longer be accommodated by the expo.
Cabalza explained that person-to-person arrangements can be arranged at the expo as opposed to internet tours and add-ons like preferential room accommodation, detailed itinerary, facility of transfers, choice of fine restaurants, and the chance of getting a correct decision, can only be achieved through personal arrangement.
In airfare, Ragaza said lots of airlines have dropped their fares recently. Like the usual United States fare from $1,600 to $1,700 could be closed to $1,100 or as low as $650.
Cabalza added that hotels offering 3 days/4 nights accommodation usually give one night stay free.
“All you have to do is buy the vouchers right at the SMX booths,” he said, adding that Citiback credit card holders can enter the venue for free. Regular entrance fee is P50 and P20 for senior citizens.
Adding color to the venue are regional booths, showcasing their delicacies and local products.
Cabalza said many Mindanao tourist spots will be highlighted during the exposition, including the tourist destinations in Mindanao like Siargao.