Tour op­er­a­tors tar­get young Asian trav­el­ers

The Freeman - - BUSINESS - Ehda M. Da­gooc

The Cebu As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Op­er­a­tion Spe­cial­ists (CATOS) is now pre­par­ing tourism pack­ages specif­i­cally de­signed to at­tract the ac­tive mil­len­nial Asian trav­el­ers, par­tic­u­larly the Thai and In­dochina (Cam­bo­dia, Laos, and Viet­nam) na­tion­als.

CATOS pres­i­dent Alice Que­blatin said they are look­ing to at­tract the young trav­el­ers from Thai­land and In­dochina fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of Philip­pine Air­lines (PAL) to launch a thrice-a-week Bangkok-Cebu-Bangkok di­rect flight start­ing De­cem­ber 2, 2017.

Yes­ter­day, PAL hosted a business-to-business event dubbed "Cen­tral Visayas – Thai­land Net­work­ing Ac­tiv­ity" at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Ho­tel in co­or­di­na­tion with the Depart­ment of Tourism (DOT-7) con­verg­ing travel bro­kers from Thai­land, Viet­nam and Cebu.

Que­blatin said since Thai­land and In­dochina coun­tries are all trop­i­cal and of­fer sim­i­lar at­trac­tions as the Philip­pines, Cebu will of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent to this young Asians by in­cor­po­rat­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and prod­ucts that ex­cite their in­ter­ests. Some­thing in­ter­ac­tive and fun.

"We did some re­search, and these trav­el­ers from this part of Asia, [Thai specif­i­cally], are ask­ing for Os­lob, Kawasan wa­te­falls ad­ven­ture, food, un­der­wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties like div­ing, mixed with a lit­tle bit of her­itage and cul­ture," said Que­blatin.

Aside from the Thais, Que­blatin said trav­el­ers, es­pe­cially the younger peo­ple and fam­i­lies too from the In­dochina penin­sula are also trav­el­ing to the Philip­pines, and Cebu in par­tic­u­lar is be­com­ing more pop­u­lar.

Pack­ages are also at­tuned to the spend­ing habits of this par­tic­u­lar mar­ket who can be quite bud­get con­scious, and lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tions are "not their thing."

DOT-7’s lat­est record show that ar­rivals from Thai­land to Cen­tral Visayas in­creased by 21.22 per­cent, at­trib­uted by the im­prove­ment of di­rect flights con­nect­ing Cebu to Thai­land.

The Philip­pines is try­ing to em­u­late Thai­land's suc­cess in tourism, but both coun­tries are also start­ing to seal co­op­er­a­tion deals to boost each other's tourism ad­van­tages.

In fact, there is also a grow­ing num­ber of Thai trav­el­ers who dis­cov­ered the Philip­pines as in­ter­est­ing des­ti­na­tion in the ASEAN, not so much on sight­see­ing be­cause both coun­tries have sim­i­lar na­ture-based at­trac­tions, but rather more on ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Filipino's warmth, hos­pi­tal­ity and friend­li­ness.

Good div­ing destinations in the Philip­pines are also among the top ac­tiv­ity lists for Thai trav­el­ers, said Thai Trade Cen­ter di­rec­tor Rachakorn Sak­sri in an ear­lier in­ter­view. —

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