Saturday, May 2, 2009

Philippines is Asia’s Most Popular Destination

From the Department of Tourism site:

RP is Asia’s Most Popular Destination, Makes [a] Mark in World Travel Fair 2009
-Friday, April 17, 2009-

SHANGHAI, CHINA -- The Philippines was named the ‘Most Popular Destination in Asia’, after a public vote and a strict evaluation process undertaken by professional jurors from the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration and VNU Exhibitions Europe, at the recent World Travel Fair (WTF) 2009.

“Our country receiving the highest laurel in Asia’s leading source fair in China is a notable milestone in the industry’s optimism in sustaining the momentum generated from efforts to reach this important market segment,” said Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism.

The tourism chief added, “The Philippines is one of the fastest growing destinations in China’s outbound travel industry, recording a 74% month-on-month growth rate in visa issuances for February of this year. We are also the nearest tropical beach country for the Chinese, as Manila is only 2 hours away from Guangzhou, while Cebu is only 3 hours away from Shanghai.”

Durano likewise attributed the win to the country’s competitive tour pricing, the remarkable progress of the transportation sector and the Filipino’s friendliness and hospitality.

Dubbed as the ‘Outbound Travel Industry's Leading Source Fair in Asia, the WTF receives thousands of travel buyers from China, Asia and the rest of the world, who come to hold exchanges with more than 500 exhibitors from 62 countries, held at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

“The Chinese travellers rank our country’s beaches and heritage sites high, as proven by the various recognitions they have awarded to our tourist spots,” Durano said further.

Beach holidays rank 79% among the top leisure activities undertaken by the Chinese, according to an outbound travel study in China, while the International Visitor Survey conducted by the DOT reported that foreign visitors rank the country highest for visitor satisfaction in terms of Filipino hospitality.

Due to its strong partnership with a consortium of travel agents, the DOT has urged the transportation sector to open direct chartered flights and daily regular flights to Cebu and Manila. These developments have reflected a 61% increase in number of chartered flights operated in 2008 compared to last year.

Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque, Jr. was enthusiastic to point out that the country has always garnered positive feedback from Asian tourists, “The Philippines has managed to secure, among others, the Best Leisure Destination in the last year’s WTF, for Boracay; the Top 10 Island Getaways for Chinese Summer Travel, for Bohol; the only Asian entry in the list of premier destinations in the acclaimed World Traveller Magazine; and Top 10 Most Searched Destination among Shanghai online users.”

Jarque was referring to Baidu, the biggest search engine in China capturing 68% of the Chinese online market (Google a distant second with 20% market share), which listed the Philippines in the Top 10 most searched travel destination among Shanghai online users from its latest report.

Meanwhile, Arlene Alipio, head of DOT Team China, noted that the flourishing outbound travel of China has been propitious to the Philippines as well, “Recent statistics from the China National Tourism Administration show that the number of Chinese travellers reached 34.4 million in the first nine months of this year, up by 14.8 percent year-on-year. In September alone, about 3.7 million Chinese people travelled overseas, an increase of 9 percent year-on-year. “

Shanghai-based Philippine Tourism Attachรฉ to China, Gerry Panga, shared, “The country’s continued and consolidated efforts in promoting a wide array of travel opportunities to its Asian neighbours have indeed resulted to our strong market performance despite the global crunch.

RP posted a growth rate of 58.5% in 2008 in terms of visa issuances for travel to the Philippines from Eastern China plus Sichuan and Chongqing. Current growth rate stands at 20% from January to March 2009, making the Philippines one of the fastest growing outbound destinations for Chinese tourists.

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