DOT Usec Bong Bengzon lauds PH Embassy in Tel Aviv for spirited campaign to attract Israelis to PH
THE Philippines took Israel by storm as the Department of Tourism (DOT) successfully concluded its initial participation in the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM 2016) held at the Tel Aviv Convention Centre last February 9 to 10.
IMTM is the official and only professional exhibition for tourism in Israel which gives tourism professionals from different parts of the globe the opportunity to meet with colleagues, buyers and suppliers. The event drew 1,560 exhibitors including 46 countries and more than 25,000 visitors from travel trade and the traveling public.
The Philippine booth was visibly one of the most visited during the two-day fair, with Israelis particularly showing special interest in popular destinations in the country such as Boracay, Cebu and Palawan.
Performances by Rose Fontanes, the Filipino who won the X Factor competition in Israel, the Israel-based Filipino Cultural Society, and flair bartender Dennis Adiuba also attracted the crowds to the Philippine booth.
Adiuba featured an original cocktail which he aptly called the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” mix. Filipino snacks, including Cebu dried mangoes, Ilocos cornick, and chocolate coconut candies, were also big hits among Israelis.
DOT Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, who headed the delegation, noted that Israel is one of the new source markets being targeted by the DOT. “We came to Israel because we are certain that it will be a major source market for the country in the near future. Arrivals from the Holy Land have tripled in the last six years highlighted by a robust 34% increase in 2015,” he said.
Bengzon said he is looking forward to more cooperative programs with the Philippine embassy to sustain the huge momentum gained from IMTM and further heighten awareness of Israelis about the country as a tourist destination. These initiatives include more familiarization trips for Israel media and travel trade and the production of collaterals in the Hebrew language.
With Bengzon was Francisco M. Lardizabal, DOT project officer and head, Strategic Development Technical Unit. He delivered the country presentation.
The DOT is also aiming to connect and network with potential business partners, including the Israel Ministry of Tourism, travel agencies and tour operators, to enhance the Philippines’ international brand and position in the market and further gain insight on current travel trends of the Israel market.
The department’s participation in the event was capped by a full-packed country presentation that provided Israel travel agents, media, and travelers with insights on DOT’s programs and the country’s multi-faceted attractions suited to the fun-loving and adventure-seeking Israelis.
Bengzon added: “We laud the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv led by Ambassador Nathaniel Imperial for a spirited campaign to attract Israelis to the Philippines which includes encouraging the highly popular “Queen of the Desert” program to be staged in the northern Philippines.”
“Desert Queen” is one of the most successful branded products in Israeli tourism today, which involve a series of journeys for women offering soft to medium adventure activities and 4x4 off-road driving and adventure activities.
The Ansett Holidays, Travel Experts, Inc., Flyeast Philippines, Intas Destination Management and Maman Aviation Ltd also joined the DOT in the event.