Glen Agustin, Chief Tourism Operations Officer – Market Development Division, says the Department of Tourism Philippines wants to increase awareness through interactive workshops in New Delhi and Ahmedabad.
The island country situated in the Western Pacific Ocean has been garnering growing interest from Indian travellers, resulting in an increase of 21.37 per cent in 2016. Around 90,816 Indians visited the Philippines last year and Agustin hopes the numbers exceed the 100,000 mark this year. In an effort to meet the target, Department of Tourism recently held training sessions in New Delhi and Ahmedabad that involved a 25-member delegation, comprising hoteliers, airlines, and representatives of tour attractions who interacted with over 200 key travel professionals.
Agustin elaborates on their increased focus on promotion and says, “Despite the fact that Indians need a visa to travel to the Philippines and that there still is no direct connectivity, the numbers are strong and encouraging. It is a good gauge of the response by Indian tourists to the efforts made by the tourism offices. Hence, this year, we are ramping the promotions and are making our presence felt at trade shows. The workshops are a pilot where we not only maintain the B2B meetings but add some fun into the learning process through games that also help increase the awareness of the destination.” In 2016, India grabbed the 12th slot in source market for tourism receipts and has managed to retain the position thus far. While leisure travel has been a key growth driver, Agustin comments that MICE movements have contributed as well and show good prospects for growth. “A lot of the MICE guests are combining their trips with soft adventure, like rafting in the Pagsanjan Falls,” he adds.
“In addition, we’ve observed more honeymoon visits and weddings is another segment that we are tapping. Family travel is also hugely popular since the Philippines offers something for everyone.” The Philippines presents sundry activities and destinations to suit the interest of every kind of Indian traveller. Cebu boasts of both beach and cityscape, while revellers can have their fill of 24/7 parties in Boracay. Manila is nothing short of paradise for shopping enthusiasts and entertainment like casinos and the local cuisine is worth a mention. Agustin enthusiastically shares, “Most of these places are well established and are well-known among travellers. We’d like less-frequented spots like Palawan and Davao to get more attention than they already are.”
“The workshops are a pilot where we not only maintain the B2B meetings but add some fun into the learning process through games that also help increase the awareness of the destination”
– Glen Agustin, Development Division, DOT Philippines