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Traveling in the new normal

SUNBATHING at the beach, diving for the first time, going on a food trip, exploring extreme sports — these are a few of the activities we have missed as tourists over the past year and a half. As we wait for the safe opportunity to travel, the second season of the online travel lifestyle series Go Safe, Go Travel: Walk and Talk with Us can help with informing the public about what it’s like to travel in the new normal.

Go Safe, Go Travel: Walk and Talk with Us — a project of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA), in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DoT), Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), and Isentia — aims to jumpstart the tourism industry, which accounts for 12.8% of the country’s national gross domestic product (GDP).

The series is streaming on Facebook and YouTube starting this month until December and as a CNN TV special in November this year.

“Before traveling to a new destination, I like to watch travel shows that will inspire me and my family or my friends about our upcoming trip. It’s a great way for all of us to plan ahead on what destinations to check out, what restaurants to eat in, the shops we want to visit, and activities we want to enjoy while never losing sight of the all-important fact of staying safe and healthy,” said HSMA President Benjamin Martinez in a statement.

“This is how we envision HSMA GPSTV Go Safe, Go Travel: Walk and Talk with Us to be. Think of it as an appetizer of future travels to come.”

Hosted by Kevin Lapena, Go Safe, Go Travel: Walk and Talk with Us at GPSTV feature gastronomic and cultural adventures, staycations, beach and adventure destinations, and planning for milestone events when it is allowed.

Featured hotels include The Peninsula Manila, Hotel Lucky Chinatown, The Bayleaf Intramuros, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Marriott Clark Hotel in Pampanga, Acuaverde Beach Resort in Batangas, Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay, and Discovery Shores Boracay.

“Last year, GPS TV Season One took an informative approach in the digital platform, creating awareness of travel destinations. This year, GPS TV Season Two will take a more in-depth approach and experiential travel,” HSMA Vice-President Loleth So said during an online press conference on Sept. 22 via Zoom.

The online series will also be sharing the latest travel protocols with viewers as well as special offers from HSMA-member hotels and resorts.

“We not only promote the enjoyment and pleasures of tourism, but, more importantly, highlight that travel can be safe and worry-free. It is crucial to discuss how we can encourage our guests towards the new normal of traveling. As stakeholders in the industry, we are in close coordination with the Department of Tourism who constantly keeps us abreast of all the government guidelines and protocols,” Ms. So said.

“GPS TV [also] aims to reach remote workers, families, couples, regional travel groups, and local leisure travelers to plan ahead and learn how to navigate themselves to their preferred destination,” she added. “With 140 hotel and resort members under our wing, our viewers will experience every property, giving them various choices for their next plan.”

Aside from the new season launch of the online series, HSMA is currently hosting the September Online Sale (SOS), an online sale of hotel vacation packages.

“For the first week [of the online sale], we have reached P6 million in total sales,” Mr. Martinez said.

Eighty-four hotel and resort chains and brands are participating in this year’s SOS, which runs until Oct. 15.

“Hotels are looking forward to re-igniting or restarting all business starting next year,” Ms. So said.

HSMA GPSTV’s Go Safe, Go Travel: Walk and Talk with Us Season Two is streaming on GPSTVofficialph on Facebook and on YouTube. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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