Rebecca Urbancik Garcia, Prague
I had the pleasure of attending the International Tourism Trade Fair, Holiday World & Region World 2022 in Prague a few weeks. ago. The event is considered to be the most important tourism and travel event not just in the Czech Republic, but in the Central European region. The fair took place at the PVA Expo Praha from 17 to 20 March 2022, with the first day dedicated to tour operators.
With the tourism sector in the Philippines picking up again after about two years of closing its borders to non-essential travel due to the global pandemic, the fair comes at the right time and is the right place to attract eager travelers and tour agencies to visit one’s country. The Embassy of the Philippines in Prague joined this year’s Holiday World with the “It’s more fun with you” campaign. The Embassy together with the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board came up with the booth’s design that would appeal more to the Czech people’s interest and passion for nature.
I had the chance to speak with Minister & Consul General, Indhira Bañares, about the Philippines’ participation at this year’s event. Minister Bañares mentioned the aim of raising more awareness about the Philippines and increasing the number of tourist arrivals from the Czech Republic, to which I agreed. Whether it be my local friends or acquaintances, it’s true that I hear more about their interest in neighboring countries in Southeast Asia… So whenever I can, I try to do my part in promoting the Philippines as well. :)
Minister Bañares highlighted that on the first day of the event, the Philippine booth was received very positively with tour operators and agencies showing much interest in the Philippines. She also mentioned that there were a number of inquiries from various age groups (as young as their 20s) about diving spots, nature trails for hiking and mountain-climbing, as well as cultural and historical destinations. There were queries too on retirement in the Philippines. Czechs who have already been to the Philippines — some as many as 10 times — have also expressed their intent to return.
Among the ~220+ exhibitors from 21 countries at this year’s fair, the Philippines won second place in the category “The Most Impressive Exposition up to 25 sq.m.” This is the second time the Philippine Embassy has participated at the Holiday World fair. It appears that the Philippines as a travel destination has been able to capture Czech fantasies of wholesome fun, adventure and beautiful scenery that appeals to their senses.
"As we break free from restrictions and open our borders, we are telling our visitors that 'It's more fun with you.' It is an assurance of the continuity of Filipino warmth and hospitality, an enduring brand that has constantly accompanied the holidays and adventures of visitors and tourists..."
Images left to right: 2nd place award, Consul General Indhira Bañares, Attachés Glea Saunar & Lina Catbagan
“During the global health pandemic, foreigners were enticed to ‘Wake up in the Philippines.’ As we break free from restrictions and open our borders, we are telling our visitors that ‘It’s more fun with you.’ It is an assurance of the continuity of Filipino warmth and hospitality, an enduring brand that has constantly accompanied the holidays and adventures of visitors and tourists, together with their friends and families, in the Philippines,” said Minister Bañares.
Although it is still considered a new destination to most, the Philippines truly has a lot to offer — from its pristine beaches, vast marine biodiversity, culture and food, the country caters to all age groups and interests…
Congratulations again to the Philippine Embassy and the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines for the award, and another successful year at the Holiday World fair! A special thank you as well to Minister Indhira Bañares and the Embassy staff for their time and hospitality.
To all my friends and our dear Roots & Wings readers, let’s discover the Philippines together as “it is more fun with you.”