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Philippines Bags Two Prestigious Awards at BITF 2008
RP bags 2 awards— "Best Booth Design Award" and "Best Folkloric Performance Award " at Busan International Travel Fair.

The Philippines raked in two prestigious awards in the just-concluded 11th Busan International Travel Fair(BITF)2008 in the southern port city of Korea besting over 200 organizations from over 30 countries occupying 150 plus booths in this international event.

The two were "Best Booth Design Award" and "Best Folkloric Performance Award."

On behalf of Philippine Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, Ms Maricon Basco Ebron, tourism director and attaché at the Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul received the awards from Korea Tourism Association Chairman Shin Jook-Mok.

"The awards reflect the earnest efforts of the DOT under the dynamic leadership of Secretary Durano in promoting Philippine tourism in South Korea's outbound market, now our country's biggest source of foreign tourists," said Ms Basco-Ebron.

The BITF, which was held at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Centre (BEXCO)in Korea's second largest urban centre, Busan, from September 5 to 8 this year, has facilitated exclusive meetings with travel specialists, five-star hoteliers and luxury tour operators.

BITF, one of three major travel fairs in Korea after KOTFA in Seoul and Daegu Travel Fair in Daegu , was organized and segmented into travel industry, international exchange, travel education and various other events.

The Fair looked into the world of travel and culture, with about 150 participating companies from 30 countries.

As was the case with KOTFA held in June this year at COEX in downtown Seoul, the Philippine booth donned unique merchandising features, creative point-of-sale display, and attractive raffle promo and outstanding performances of Kalilayan Folkloric Group (KFG).that lured throngs of Korean visitors.

"These factors accounted significantly for our twin award win," Ms Ebron said crediting the successful wrap-up of Busan travel event with Secretary Durano who came out with an idea of dispatching the big name Philippine cultural troupe to Busan.
Ms Basco-Ebron, receives a plaque of "Best Booth Design Award" from Busan Tourism Association.

The KFG members, clad in colorful native costumes, drew large crowds of spectators as they performed cultural song and dance numbers in the Philippine booth and on stage, often enticing the audience to do the tinkling at the end of each performance.

The Philippines being a tropical archipelago has had its share in the presence of water in its life.
Throughout history this reality of the presence of water in the life of the Filipinos had honed them and influenced the very core of their being, penetrating through their hearts and becoming part of their lives.

Various cultures in the Philippines had assimilated this in their way of life. In the northern tribe, water plays an important role in the maintenance of their rice terraces. Kalinga woman translated their affiliation with water as they balance water jugs in their heads.

Nothing can best express the Filipino high regard for water than their expression of folk wisdom.
It is this spirit that guides the Kalilayan Folkloric group, as the cultural group expresses the various culture of the Filipinos, like the water it creates the very locus of its stability as a people (just like early tribal settlement and reducciones), it allows us to blend with the culture of other people and still maintain the very substance of being a Filipino. And like water the Kalilayan aims to bridge unity to the world, a member of the cultural troupe said.

Similarly competing for visitor attention are various tourism entities, organizations and government agencies from such countries as Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and Taiwan.

These exhibitions came up with various stunning displays, marketing promos, and cultural performances, which the Philippines best in two most important award categories during the event.

"This year's wins also proved the wisdom in DOT's market-specific promotional strategy initiated by Secretary Durano based on the actual requirements and nuances of the Korean market," Ms Ebron said pointing out that the spirit of cultural exchange is behind the DoT's efforts to attract more Korean tourists to the Philippines..

The DOT has been promoting Philippine tourism in Korea localized marketing targeted at four major market segments students, honeymooners, holidays seekers, and incentive and special interest groups.

Being essentially localized, the DOT's marketing strategies vary from country to country, depending on each market's mindset and preferences.

Koreans made up the bulk of foreign visitors in the Philippines for the first seven months of the year with 19.8 percent of all foreign visitors were from Korea.

This translates to 380,619 Korean visitors, with a growth rate of 1.5 percent.

Visitors from the United States came in second with 366,662 or 19.1 percent of the total, while Japan completed the top three with 216,114 Japanese visitors or 11.3 percent.






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