The 11th Regional Travel Fair’s 110 Million Sales Signals that “Travel is back, alright”


The 11th Regional Travel Fair held this year in Cebu has put to rest any doubts about the current state of tourism in the country. It surpassed pre-pandemic sales, indicating a strong recovery in the travel sector.  The event lasted for three days, from July 21-23, 2023, and was held at SM Seaside Cebu City. During this time, more than 70 exhibitors, including travel agencies, hospitality brands, provincial tourism offices, and attendees seeking affordable and high-quality holiday packages and other tourism-related services, generated a total of 110 million pesos in actual and negotiated sales.

Krisa Alcoriza

The 11th Regional Travel Fair (RTF) achieved a sale of 110 million pesos, which represents a significant increase of 32.7% compared to the 83 million peso sale made during the 10th RTF held in Laguna in October 2022.

Thea Ifurung
110 million peso in actual and negotiated sales = resounding success

The fair which is organized by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) of the Philippines — the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT)  serves as a one-stop source for discounted domestic tour packages, airline tickets and accommodations.

Krisa Alcoriza
A booth showcasing the banig creations of weavers from Badian, Cebu

Marga Nograles, COO of the TPB, was overjoyed by the travel roadshow’s overwhelming success this year. “We are thrilled to witness the overwhelming response and enthusiasm from exhibitors and visitors during the Regional Travel Fair. The outstanding sales leads signal a bright future for the tourism industry in the post-pandemic era and reaffirm travelers’ confidence in the safety of their travels.”

Highlighting the Region’s Cultural and Tourism Sites

The RTF, as one of TPB's flagship programs is conducted across different areas of the country, with the most recent RTFs taking place in Sorsogon in May 2022 and Laguna in October 2022.  The exhibition is staged in multiple locations, offering a platform for various regions to collaborate with other regional tourism offices and major stakeholders in showcasing their respective tourist attractions.

Thea Ifurung
The 18th century St Michael Parish Church in Argao, Cebu

With the 11th RTF being hosted in Cebu, some of Central Visayas' cultural heritage was highlighted, including the handloom weaving culture of Hablon Weavers of Argao and Banig Weavers of Badian.

Janelle Cu
One of the Hablon weavers of Argao

As part of the media that covered the 11th RTF, this writer joined members of TPB on a side-trip to Argao, a seaside municipality noted for its four Ts namely: Tableya, Torta, Tuba, and Textile (Hablon). Upon arriving in Argao, we promptly visited the women weavers at their weaving centre located within the Cebu Technological University campus.

Thea Ifurung
St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Carcar 

Hablon is a type of handwoven cloth produced by women in the Visayas region, particularly on Panay Island and parts of Cebu. The term "Hablon" is derived from the Hiligaynon word "Habol," which translates to "to weave."

Thea Ifurung and Janelle Cu
Juicy lechon of Carcar

Hablon weaving in Argao, similar to other areas in the Visayas, experienced a decline over the past few decades. However, in 2013, the local government unit (LGU) and other government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), took steps to revive this traditional method of cloth-making. As part of these efforts, training facilities were established, including the one located within the Cebu Technological University (CTU).  Today, the Hablon weavers of Argao are flourishing in the production of cloth for consumers worldwide. They have formed partnerships with renowned designers like Kenneth Cobonpue to create weaves not only for clothing but also for furniture and various other products.

Seafood pasta from The Pig & Palm

We also made a stop at the heritage town of Carcar to enjoy some delicious lechon, which was freshly roasted and sold in the town's market. Additionally, we visited the St. Catherine's Church, a 19th-century architectural marvel that combines elements of Revival Baroque and Neo-Mudejar Moorish styles, with hints of Greco-Roman and Islamic influences, as well as Temple of Leah and Casa Gorordo Museum.

Temple of Leah

Over the course of three days, we got a taste of the city’s gastronomic scene at some of the forefront contemporary restaurants in Cebu City, including Fili All-Day Dining by NUSTAR, CAVA (which is located in a 120-year-old house), Bell + Amadeus, Seargao, The Pig and Palm, and CUR8.

This century-old home houses the contemporary CAVA restaurant

The 11th RTF was made possible thanks to the support of the Department of Tourism Region VII, the Provincial Government of Cebu, and the City Government of Cebu. The event was sponsored by various partners from the private sector, including SM Seaside City, 2GO, Jpark Island, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, Philippine Airlines, NUSTAR, Fili Hotel, CAVA, Bluewater Maribago Mactan, and Marco Polo Cebu.

See you in the next Regional Travel Fair in October

The TPB hopes that more visitors and vendors will attend the Regional Travel Fair in the Ilocos Region this coming October.