Last week, I had the chance to visit at least 10 countries by going to one place alone. Thanks to this year’s Riyadh Travel Fair 2015 held last April 14-17 at the Four Seasons Hotel. This annual event gathers various countries interested in promoting their tourism to Riyadhizens like us who seem to be living with a travel bug. Two years back, we were mere spectators of this event but this year, Janelle and I were eager to help out for the Philippine booth, inquiring if we could volunteer (because love the Philippines so much that we were hoping for a chance to be a part of it!). Luckily, the Philippine Embassy coordinated us with the group sent by the Department of Tourism and at the last minute, gave us the go signal to join them there. Self-proclaimed ambassadors of the Philippines? In our own little way, we’d like to say yes. 🙂
For the first three days, we were pretty indulged in attending to the people coming by the booth and asking to learn more about the Philippines. In fairness, the Philippine booth had a pronounced presence during the event. It was colorful, busy with giveaways and brochures for everyone’s disposal. We met the amazing team from DOT, Sir Glenn, Sir Stalin, Mr. Sivi and Mr. Ian (all whose jobs we envy!). We also had Cebu Pacific table and representative as our airline partner for those who wanted to book flights right away! Everyone who popped in our booth seems to have heard of Boracay taking the top spot of the places they’d like to visit. Palawan came at a close second but by virtue of the DOT pamphlets, they were promoting mostly, Baguio, Cebu Islands, Davao, Boracay and Palawan. It was so awesome to see the interest of other nationalities in visiting our country! Janelle and I were thinking, “We should do this every day!”
It wasn’t until the last day of the event that I had a chance to finally roam around and discover the other countries who were participating in the Travel Fair. Here’s what I saw:
Turkey actually had the biggest chunk of the travel partners and a giant booth as well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a photo of it because there was so many people that I wasn’t able to get a proper shot. South Korea, Holland, UAE and Austria were also among the other participating countries. Everyone in each booth was eager to talk about their respective countries and some even donned their national costumes.
Interestingly enough, despite the ‘red alert’ we heard by Thursday night, the event still enjoyed a healthy attendance and by late Friday night, the Philippine Tourism booth were already out of flyers even though there were still some people interested. Traffic within the area was depressing but the wiser ones knew walking was the way to go. Overall, it was the cheapest ’round the world trip I’ve had in a while. Certainly interactive too! Now if only I could save enough money to actually visit one of those countries.
Hopefully, next year, we’ll see more of you during the RTF2015. In the meantime, do visit the Philippines when you can…why? Because it’s more fun in the Philippines. 🙂