DOT backs newest tourism association, GTBA
The Global Tourism Business Association (GTBA) has received support from the Department of Tourism after a successful courtesy meeting last October 25, 2023 with DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco at the department’s central office in Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City.
GTBA Chairman and former Philippine Travel Agencies Association President Michelle Taylan spearheaded discussions on the industry and the immediate plans of the association, which will officially launch later this year.
Along with the GTBA board of trustees and officers, Taylan seeks to advocate for sustainable tourism business practices and to elevate standards in the industry so as to help boost the sector.
“As someone who has long served and understood the plight of practitioners in the travel and tourism industry, I am very much committed to developing the way we do business here in the Philippines,” Taylan said. “There are a lot of opportunities and areas for growth which we in the GTBA hope to explore along with the government.”
Taylan, along with GTBA and One Klik Events, recently launched their first travel sale expo last September 29 at the SM Megatrade Hall. The event was also graced by Sec. Frasco, who was the guest of honor.
The Travel Sale Expo will return for its second edition next year May 31, 2024 with bigger surprises in store. “This expo and the GTBA are passion projects of mine which I hope to grow in the coming years as a service to the traveling public and my fellow travel professionals so that they can have an additional avenue to market their service and expand their business,” Taylan said.
Aside from event collaborations, the GTBA will also work with the department in efforts to eliminate travel-related scams, fly-by-night service providers, and unauthorized online travel agency trainings, which affect the image of legitimate tourism businesses. Taylan cited a study by global information and insights company, TransUnion, which found travel and leisure industries in the Philippines seeing the biggest growth in digital fraud attempts in 2021. It is for this reason that the GTBA wants to adopt stronger campaigns against travel agency scammers and bogus operators.
“Our travelers invest hard earned money to go on these trips and vacations, and so we must ensure that they do not fall victim to fake travel agencies, promising to let them see the world, only to scam them off their money,” Taylan said. Aside from this, the GTBA is also making it a priority to attract more investors for tourism as a means of generating more jobs. The association also wants to promote culture and the arts by coming up with special projects and festivals celebrating traditional music, art, and dance across regions. The GTBA is also working on strengthening education tourism, health tourism, and sports tourism in the Philippines. As a start they will be launching the First Asian Golf Friendly Tournament in December this year. “We Filipinos are very multi-faceted and we would like to showcase that to the world through our initiatives GTBA,” Taylan said.
The association is also committed to supporting both local and international projects of the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board, as well as counterpart projects by ASEAN and non-ASEAN travel associations. The DOT said it welcomes these initiatives from the GTBA and has vowed to continue working with public sector partners in developing the industry.
“[We] support the projects and initiatives of the GTBA… we see it as a good opportunity to promote the Philippines through education tourism, considering our mastery of the English language. These efforts are aligned with the agency’s projects,” Sec. Frasco said. Along with Taylan are the GTBA Board of Trustees and Officers:Maritess Cuan, Tess Alejo, Jeremiah Mongcopa, Charmaine Quiray, Jagmohan Tamber, Noi Alunan and Mr. Raj Joshua Bangi.