By Cesar Cruz Jr.
With the health pandemic putting a lot of travel goals on hold for the past two years, there is no stopping Filipinos this time around to take that much-anticipated trip. To know more about what trips Filipinos are taking both in the domestically and internationally, Experience Travel and Living recently had a one- on- one interview with those in the know- the top executives of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS). The organization has remained the largest travel accreditation group association in the country. It works in close coordination with the Department of Tourism as well as the Tourism Promotions Board. NAITAS boasts of having a national body composed of the Board of Trustees and Executive Officers. It also has 17 chapters around the country with its own set of officers.
According to Florence Rivera, Immediate Past President (2021-2022), the Holy Land has become the new Hong Kong. “Everybody wants to go to Holy Land. The popular Holy Land tour is a tri-country tour – Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Egypt is where you see the pyramids, Petra is in Jordan, Israel is where everything in the Bible happened. If you are not religious, the historical and cultural significance are definitely worth the visit, “she explained. For first time goers to Europe, she recommended the six country tour (including France, Italy, and Germany). If one has already visited places in Europe, she suggested the Balkan tour. As for domestic travels, she pointed to Palawan - El Nido, Coron, San Vicente, and Balabac; in particular. “There is so much to see in Palawan and such beauty! It is so different from the rest of the Philippines,” she added.
For Racquel Sabucido, the current National President of NAITAS, she added that aside from the Holy Land tour, the United States, as well as Asian tours will always be in demand with Japan, Korea, and Taiwan as the top destinations. For local destinations-Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol, are popular attractions.
Pia Borromeo, a member of the Board of Directors of NAITAS, agreed that Japan, Korea, and Taiwan tour packages are selling like hotcakes with the addition of Thailand tour package. As for local spots, she gave a nod to Boracay and Cebu.
It is interesting to note that the Philippines has been named as the world’s leading beach and dive destination at the World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2022 in Muscat, Oman. The Philippines topped over 18 beach and 10 dive destinations to gain the coveted title. The recognition has added a reason for Filipinos to frolic in their beaches and explore their deep blue seas.
Plans for 2023
In June, NAITAS will be holding its 2nd General Membership and Business Meeting with a golf tournament.
For November, it will have its Travel Expo in Bacolod followed by a travel show in Pasay City.