INT'L TRAVEL FESTIVAL 2022. A tourist takes a selfie while paragliding with a partner in Oslob, Cebu in this undated photo. Paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving, mountaineering, trekking, and trail-riding will be showcased at the “Central Visayas Pavillion” during the International Travel Festival 2022 at the Ayala Center-Cebu on Feb. 18-20, 2022. (Photo from Oslob, Cebu Paragliding's FB page)

CEBU CITY – Marine and outdoor tourism attractions, as well as Filipino martial arts (FMA), will be showcased in the International Travel Festival 2022 (IATF 2022) at the Ayala Center-Cebu, the Department of Tourism-Central Visayas (DOT-7) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DOT-7 said the activity that will kick off on Friday and end on Sunday (Feb. 18-20) will feature paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving, mountaineering, trekking, and trail-riding at the event’s “Central Visayas Pavillion”.

Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, DOT-7 regional director, said this initiative supports the region’s tourism industry players who are still reeling from the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and will showcase key destinations in Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

“After two years of having been virtually home-bound, ITF 2022’s theme ‘It’s Time to Travel’ is appropriate. Indeed, it’s time to travel, experience more of our mountains, farms, and lush forests, our beaches and the sea,” he said.

Apart from the refreshing experience offered by the rich marine and terrestrial destinations in Central Visayas, martial arts originating in the Philippines like Arnis, which has gained international popularity, will also be one of the key attractions at the event.

Filipino martial arts practitioners are scheduled for a demonstration performance on Friday.

Tamano said the spotlight on outdoor destinations and FMA corresponds to existing health and safety protocols, stressing the promotion of a more active, natural lifestyle.

The Cebu Association of Tour Operations Specialists (CATOS), Oslob Cebu Paragliding Development, KayakAsia Philippines, Inc., Philippine Accessible Disability Services, Inc., Habagat Outdoor Equipment, Inc., Moalboal Dive Association, Malapascua Business Association, Negros Oriental Dive Association, Zamboanguita Diving and Leisure Resort Association, Dive Mactan, Pacifica Dive, Ocean Dive, White Tip and Sea Explorers will represent Central Visayas at the event.

The pavilion featuring Region 7 will host in-festival activities, including product presentations, demonstrations and games for guests, with tourism office representatives from four provinces ready to host talks with visitors.

The activities will be streamed live on the Department of Tourism Central Visayas and Visit Central Visayas Facebook pages.

Dubbed as the region’s biggest travel convention, returning for its seventh run after a two-year pandemic-induced absence, the event is expected to banner a promising restart amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastation brought by Typhoon Odette.

Hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel agencies, booking platforms, insurance providers and other industry stakeholders are participating in the fair. As with previous runs, there will be huge discounts on bookings, promotional offers and innovative giveaways, the statement said.

ITF 2022 is presented by MyEventology Co. and DOT-7, together with the Tourism and Promotions Board Philippines as co-presentors, and sponsored by Turkish Airlines. (PNA)