By Analou De Vera
The Department of Tourism (DOT) said that the first month-long shopping festival in the country will start on Sunday, March 1 amid the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) scare.
The DOT said that shopping is one of the most common activities of tourists who are visiting the Philippines.
“It’s not hard to see that elevating the shopping experience will go a long way to enhance the attractiveness of our tourist destinations all over the Philippines, whether it is our big cities or in our beautiful provinces,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in a statement.
“We’ve recognized this in the National Tourism Development Plan of 2016-2022, where leisure, entertainment, and shopping tourism is one of the 10 products we want to further develop in the next few years,” she added.
The DOT said that the shopping festival, in partnership with various malls and associations, will run until March 31 in Metro Manila, Agusan Del Norte, Antique, Bacolod, Baguio, Bataan, Bicol Region, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Butuan City, Cagayan De Oro, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Cebu, Davao, Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, Lanao Del Norte, Legazpi City in Albay, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, South Cotabato (General Santos City), and Zambales (Olongapo City).
In the shopping sale that will feature a variety of Philippine-made products, Puyat said local and foreign tourists can expect 15 up to 70 percent discounts on food and dining, jewelry and fashion, crafts, furniture, and décor, and beauty and wellness products.
Moreover, tourists can also look for affordable airfares and cheaper hotel accommodations for the promotion period.
“This ambitious project, designed to increase tourism expenditure in the country, would not have been possible without the full support and cooperation of the nation’s mall operators, retailers, franchise holders, hotel and tour operators, and travel agencies,” said Puyat.
The Departments of Health, Tourism, and Interior and Local Government recently released a joint statement stating that it is “safe to organize and attend public gatherings, meetings, and festivals as long as precautionary measures identified by the DOH are observed.”