TRAVEL TOUR EXPO. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat poses with PTAA president Ritchie Tuano, Turkish Airlines general manager in Manila Erhan Balaban, and an exhibitor at a booth of the 2020 Travel Tour Expo (TTE) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Thursday (Feb. 6, 2020). The TTE will be open to the public from February 7 to 9, offering hundreds of low-priced tour packages in domestic and international destinations. (PNA photo by Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

MANILA— The 2020 Travel Tour Expo (TTE) will be opened to the public starting Friday, offering hundreds of low-priced tour packages in domestic and international destinations.

At least 900 booths and some 30 participating countries are expected to showcase travel and tour deals up to 70 percent discounts on cruise lines, hotels, theme parks, and airline fares, its organizer Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said.

Being the largest annual gathering on travel and tours—domestic or international—the three-day expo expects to welcome more than 100,000 guests.

PTAA president Ritchie Tuaño on Thursday assured that proper health and safety measures for attendees are in place and that PTAA is in touch with the Department of Health (DOH) for proper information dissemination.

“In light of the recent 2019-nCoV situation, PTAA is prepared for any health and safety threats that may arise. I assure the public that the expo will be prioritizing the safety of its staff and its customers,” he said.

During the opening ceremony, mandatory body temperature checks are implemented. Amid the outbreak, Tuaño is optimistic the event-exclusive deals alone will draw in thousands of expo visitors.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, meanwhile, is positive that such an event could help the travel sector in sustaining growth amid the challenges it faced in 2020.

“Given the circumstances affecting the travel sector today, most of especially with the Taal Volcano activity and the global health emergency caused by the novel coronavirus, being here at the Travel and Tour Expo gives DOT great hope that the Philippine travel industry can still sustain the growth it achieved over the last few years,” she said in her keynote message.

Promoting PH

Aside from stimulating domestic travel, Tuaño believes the annual TTE can also attract visiting foreigners to return and travel to the Philippines.

“As we work closely with the Tourism Promotion Board, we believe that the expo’s initiative is also a vehicle to achieve the Department of Tourism’s target of 9.2 million international visitors this 2020,” Tuaño said.

“We will continue to uphold how the Philippines as a travel destination is more than just a brand,” he added.

Some of the main sponsors of the event are Citibank, Turkish Airlines, Tourism Promotions Board-DOT, Tourism Malaysia, and PLDT.

The general admission fee is at PHP70 (including children and students) and PHP50 for senior citizens. The expo will be held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City from Feb. 7 to 9, 2020. (PNA)