Officially started last Monday, the 2016 edition of the ASEAN Travel Forum will gain more exposure as bilateral Meetings of ASEAN NTOs & Ministers go on this Wednesday while late afternoon will see the official launching of the ATF in presence of Philippines President Benigno Aquino.
Some 2000 delegates from 62 countries started to arrive from Sunday, a number slightly higher compared to the 50 countries registered in the 2015 ATF held in Myanmar new capital Nay Pyi Daw.
The ATF remains the largest gathering of all tourism professionals in Southeast Asia with meetings organised for tourism ministers, national tourism organizations, airlines associations, travel agencies network while buyers and sellers will meet during a two day exhibition show, the ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) from Jan. 20 to 22.
The NTO and ASEAN leaders meetings will be held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, while the TRAVEX will take place at the SMX Convention Center.
The highlight of ATF 2016 is the expected approval of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) for 2016 to 2025, which will determine how ASEAN countries will promote the tourism offerings of the region in the global market.
As the host country, the Philippines is well-represented with 460 exhibition booths. “This year spotlights 13 regions from across the country and features the Philippines’ best with over 150 exhibiting booths from across the country,” the DOT secretariat said.
The remaining 310 booths are taken by representatives from the remaining nine ASEAN countries. The budget for Manila ATF reached approximately US$3.55 million (PHP169 million) for the five-day event. The bulk of the budget will be spent for the tours of the delegates.