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Launch of North Luzon Travel Expo Aims to Boost Tourism Recovery

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The Department of Tourism (DOT) has initiated the second travel expo to facilitate the ongoing recovery of the tourism sector in northern provinces.

The DOT Regional Offices I, II, and III, along with the Cordillera Administrative Region, inaugurated the 2nd North Luzon Travel Expo (NLTE) at the Grand Sierra Pines Hotel, North Outlook Drive in Baguio City, spanning from November 25 to 27, 2023. The event was organized by DOT-Cordillera.

Photo courtesy: Facebook / North Luzon Travel Expo 2023

The inaugural NLT Fair took place at the SMX Convention Center Clark in the Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. DOT-CAR has organized a series of events with the Tourism and Travel Fair as the central highlight. 

The fair was scheduled to take place at the CAP Convention Center in Camp John Hay, Baguio City. Additional activities encompassed a music showcase featuring local artists from the four regions, an art exhibition at the Reflection Pool of Wright Park in Baguio City, and a business-to-business networking event at La Fayette Hotel, Baguio City.

Photo courtesy: Facebook / North Luzon Travel Expo 2023

In addition, product presentations took place at the CAP Convention Center. Moreover, familiarization tour of the North Luzon Interregional Circuit was also done as a post-tour activity, covering key destinations in Baguio City and Benguet in the Cordillera region, as well as Naguillan, San Fernando City, Bauang, San Juan, and Luna in La Union in Region 1.

On November 26, The Manor Garden in Camp John Hay hosted a “Hibla ng Lahing Pilipino Fashion Parade.” The event was designed to present regal fabrics originating from North Luzon and to honor the skilled weavers of indigenous Filipino textiles.

Led by Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, the Department of Tourism (DOT) introduced the inaugural NLTE in Clark last year, aiming to enhance domestic tourism in the country and promote robust tourism collaboration and marketing across different regions. 

Photo courtesy: Facebook / Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco

This year, NLTE is making a comeback on a larger scale, expecting to attract over 1,000 daily visitors and featuring more than 100 exhibitors and sellers in the Summer Capital of the Philippines and the UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art.

A standout and one of the highlights of this recently concluded tourism expo was the Art in the Park North Luzon, a dynamic celebration highlighting the abundant talents of artists from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions I, II, and III.

In its role as the host region for the three-day expo, DOT-CAR, led by Director Jovita Ganongan, extended gratitude to local artisans who poured their heart and soul into their artworks, converging in Baguio City—the country’s inaugural member-city of the esteemed UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Ganongan commended the city’s flourishing creative community, stating, “I’d like to express that your commitment to your craft and dedication to creating beauty is truly inspiring. You are actually making Baguio City beautiful. Without your creativity, Baguio City might not have been declared a UNESCO Creative City, so please give yourselves a round of applause.”

Photo courtesy: Facebook / Jovi Ganongan

Director Joseph Francisco Ortega of DOT Region 1 thanked stakeholders who have supported the NLTE since its inaugural edition last year. He expressed hope that the collaboration between the DOT and the City Government of Baguio City, particularly the Art in the Park North Luzon, becomes a platform for self-expression for the featured artists.

On the flip side, Director Richard Daenos of DOT-3 expressed his wish that the Art in the Park North Luzon serves as inspiration for budding and aspiring artists to hone their crafts and share their creativity.

Meanwhile, DOT Sec. Frasco expressed gratitude to the local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders in the region for their unwavering support of the travel expo.

“We bring together regional directors and tourism stakeholders from all over the country to ensure that they become aware, see for themselves the viability of tourism products and will be able to go back to their provinces to deliver the good news that Northern Luzon is ready and open for tourism,” Secretary Frasco stated in her opening remarks.

“This three-day event reflects our commitment to rebuilding and revitalizing the tourism industry. It is a privilege to witness the resilience of the North Luzon tourism sector and contribute to the event by exploring the diverse treasures of the region,” she added.

Frasco also emphasized that this occasion empowers locals, community-based enterprises, and tour operators to serve as tourism ambassadors. She noted that numerous places in Northern Luzon possess the potential to attract tourists through strategic marketing and regional collaboration.

“Initiatives like this are crucial in continuing to elevate the status of the Philippines as far as tourism is concerned in Asia and the world toward fulfilling the President’s goal to become a tourism powerhouse.” “The people of Northern Luzon are considered gatekeepers of Filipino identity,” she added.

Aside from Frasco, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong graced the three-day tourism event.

Photo courtesy: Facebook / Jovi Ganongan

During an interview with Buzz Beat Media, Magalong emphasized the significance of the travel expo as a crucial event for promoting tourism, after the pandemic. “For the City of Baguio and Cordillera, isa kasi sa main drivers ng aming economy is tourism. Siyempre, when we talk about tourism, ano ‘yong maiooffer ng isang locality o isang region sa mga bisita,” he said. 

“Natutuwa naman kami that products from different places were being displayed right now. And kami naman, same manner na naipapakita rin namin ang iba’t ibang produkto ng Cordillera so nagkakaroon ng mga exchanges, trading
 ‘yon naman ang importante rito eh
 KSE
 ‘yong tinatawag nating knowledge sharing and exchange.”

“So I hope it will enhance ‘yong aming best practices, the same sa pag-exchange ng mga products, especially mga exotic products na alam nating nanggagaling lang sa particular locality and provinces,” he added.

In addition to the provinces in North Luzon, it is also delightful that other provinces in the country, particularly in Mindanao, had the opportunity to participate in the mentioned travel expo. 

Entrepreneurs from the locality, travel and tour operators, and local government units (LGUs) in the Caraga Region.

Department of Tourism-Caraga (DOT-13) Director Ivonnie Dumadag mentioned in an interview, “Caraga products and handicrafts were recognized during the event to diverse audiences and attracted potential customers and business opportunities.”

In addition to featuring local products, she explained that the expo also presented a range of travel opportunities for tourists in Caraga.

Dumadag further characterized the region’s involvement in the expo as a “chance for exposure, networking, and market expansion, which is anticipated to stimulate local economies and contribute to regional development.”

Indeed, NLTE 2023 is poised to serve as a symbol of optimism and a catalyst for the revival of North Luzon’s tourism sector, imprinting a lasting influence on the region’s cultural fabric and economic advancement.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from North Luzon Travel Expo 2023/Department of Tourism – Region 3 Office/Jovi Ganongan/Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco

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