SMX Convention Center, Manila – Celebrity couple Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos took center stage at the Taiwan Pavilion during a grand event orchestrated by the Taiwan Tourism Administration. Now official ambassadors, this dynamic duo infused Taiwan with radiant energy at the Philippine Travel Tour Expo held at SMX Convention Center Manila from February 2nd to 4th, 2024.
The Taiwan Pavilion unfolded a vibrant tapestry of Taiwanese culture and cuisine, featuring enthralling performances by renowned celebrity chef RV Manabat and the victorious dance group Fun To Art, champions of the 2022 Xiongzheng International Street Dance Competition. Attendees were further immersed in the splendor of Taiwan through interactive experiences such as a DIY Pineapple Cake workshop and savoring traditional Taiwanese egg pancakes.
The primary objective of the exhibition was to unveil Taiwan’s allure beyond conventional tourist destinations. With a staggering 6 million tourist arrivals in 2023 and an impressive 68% recovery in Filipino visitors since 2019, the love for Taiwan among Filipino travelers remained unwavering. A delegation of 42 representatives seamlessly showcased Taiwan’s diverse tourism resources, integrating attractions like the Sun Moon Lake cycling route and the Chimei Museum in Tainan, all woven with the globally beloved bubble tea theme.
Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos elevated the glamour with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a heartwarming performance of the timeless Taiwanese drama “Meteor Garden” theme song, injecting a touch of romance into the expo. They also made Taiwanese jasmine Oolong tea cake with 2024 TTE chairperson, Ms. Patricia Chiong, Deputy Representative of TECO, Mr. Dustin Teng-Shi Yang, and Division Director of Taiwan Tourism Administration, Ms. Sarah Chen.
It comes as no surprise that the Taiwan Pavilion received the “2024 TTE Most Interesting Booth” award in the closing ceremony of the expo.
Unlocking the Gateway
Beyond the glitter and glamour, the Taiwan Pavilion served as a pivotal hub for the exchange between the tourism industries of Taiwan and the Philippines. The Taiwan Tourism Workshop, held on January 31 and February 1, facilitated extensive discussions among travel industry representatives, airlines, and mainstream media from both nations. Taiwan extended enticing offers to Filipino tourists, including visa-free entry, complimentary one-way airport MRT tickets, and the opportunity to win an NT$5,000 voucher through a lucky draw. Group travelers were not overlooked, with a maximum subsidy of NT$50,000 on group fees.
A standout feature was the “Taiwan Pass,” offering diverse transportation options for only NT$2,500, ensuring unparalleled convenience for travelers exploring the island. As Taiwan continues to shine in the 2024 destination rankings, with Tainan receiving accolades from National Geographic Traveler and CNN, the island beckons travelers with a kaleidoscope of offerings, guaranteeing that love will continue to blossom in the heart of Asia.