As part of its mandate to strengthen the country’s export industry, the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) continues to scout crafts makers, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the countryside which can be assisted to attain competitiveness and eventually make it to the global market.
To pursue this drive, the country’s leading export association supports initiatives and partners with other entities in collaborating with promising provincial local enterprises.
In line with this thrust, Philexport supported AAP Lakbay in its recent caravan tours to Bulacan and Cavite to rediscover the heritage, culinary and natural attractions, as well as the export-quality crafts of the said provinces which have become tourist destinations themselves.
AAP Lakbay is the travel and tourism arm of the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), the country’s national auto club, which has been doing caravans across the country’s key destinations over the past decade to promote domestic tourism and support MSMEs in the process.
In its recent Cavite caravan, the group visited Likhang Maragondon, an award-winning social enterprise in Maragondon, Cavite which helped revive the dying weaving craft and bamboo industry, and are now sought-after in the overseas market. The boutique proprietorship, which thrived during the lockdown period, also serves as the town’s ambassador of tourism, culture and goodwill.
The caravan participants also visited Cornerstone Pottery Farm in Silang town which produces high-quality pottery products for restaurants, shops, boutiques and resorts.
Earlier this year, AAP Lakbay and Philexport visited Bulacan to check out on Baliuag’s traditional “imbute” or carving of carabao bone inlay in furniture.
According to Philexport tourism committee chair Mina Gabor, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has classified tourism services and products as among the globe’s biggest and fastest-growing exports before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
She said that with the resumption of international travel, tourism receipts are expected to bounce back and even surpass the 2019 levels.
The former Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary noted that the WTO has declared that locally made crafts brought out of the country by tourists are now classified as exports, and hence there’s a need to constantly upgrade their quality to world-class standards.
Headed by Sergio Ortiz Luis as president, Philexport was founded in 1992 to help businesses with the exportation of goods and services, and has some 5,000 members and 20 regional chapters.