Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov (center) welcomed at the Philippine Booth by Consul General Reichel P. Quiñones (second from right) and DOT London Tourism Attaché Gerard Panga (rightmost).
30 March 2022, Tel Aviv – The Philippine Department of Tourism, assisted by the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, led a team in showcasing the best of Philippine tourism and culture at the 28th International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) held at Expo Tel Aviv from 29 to 30 March 2022. IMTM 2022 is the first time since 2019 that the regional tourism expo, considered the largest and most influential travel event in the Eastern Mediterranean region, has been held as an in-person event.
The IMTM, an annual event hosted in Israel, brings together key players and stakeholders from the travel, tourism, and service industries from the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. The Philippines was the lone country from Southeast Asia participating in the event.
“After two years, the Philippines is back at the IMTM!” Philippine Ambassador Macairog S. Alberto enthused, speaking to visitors at the IMTM booth. “It’s been a long time, but we are more than ready to welcome visitors from Israel and the rest of the region.”
The Philippines reopened to tourism for fully-vaccinated international travelers on 01 March, and is planning to further relax its restrictions by 01 April. Visa-free privileges for Israeli travelers have been reinstated, thus Israeli nationals need only their vaccination cards, a negative result on a PCR test taken 72 hours before boarding or a negative result on an antigen test taken 24 hours before boarding, and medical insurance valid for the duration of their stay in the Philippines.
Israeli nationals are allowed visa-free entry for stays of up to 59 days in the Philippines.
Philippine Ambassador to Israel Macairog S. Alberto at the Philippine Booth.
Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov visited the Philippine booth and gamely posed for photos with Embassy and DOT personnel. Ambassador Alberto also fielded interviews by media representatives, engaged social media influencers and bloggers, and held meetings with Israeli travel firms.
Following the opening of the expo, Ambassador Alberto hosted a Philippine Tourism Night reception at the Embassy for travel and business sector representatives, media, and Embassy partners. Guests were regaled with Filipino songs and dances Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company and Great Voice of Britain Grand Champion Ms. Kaye Fresco, while Madrid-based champion flair bartender Dennis Barela Adiuba served “Pinoy Mojito” and other concoctions featuring Philippine-made rum.
Guest at the Embassy reception enjoyed Filipino street food such as Philippine fruit-flavored ice cream, served from a traditional sorbetes cart. A sari-sari store offered kikiam, fish balls, kwek-kwek and halo-halo.
As part of the Embassy’s push for recognition of Philippine gastronomy in Israel, guests were served traditional Filipino chicken barbecue, lumpia, pansit, ensaladang talong, leche flan, and puto cheese. A rustic sari-sari store served kwek-kwek, kikiam, fish balls, and halo-halo; while an iconic sorbetero cart offered ice cream with Philippine fruit flavors. The drinks bar featured Philippine beer and liquor.
As the Philippines continues to relax entry and travel guidelines, Israeli tourists will once more savor not just the warmth of Filipino hospitality, but also visa-free entry for up to 59 days. They will also enjoy the comfort of safe travel, as close to 100% of Philippine tourism and hospitality workers are fully vaccinated and frontline establishments follow strict protocols to ensure that visitors are protected.
Performances by Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company, Great Voice of Britain Grand Champion Kaye Fresco, and champion flair bartender Dennis Barela Adiuba drew large crowds and excitement at the Philippine booth, leading IMTM organizers to note that is the “most fun and watched booth at the event”.