Philip­pines tar­gets group VoA

The Depart­ment of Tourism, Philip­pines has set the ball rolling for group visas on ar­rival for the is­lands and con­tin­ues to de­velop the In­dia mar­ket fur­ther.

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The Depart­ment of Tourism, Philip­pines re­ceived over­whelm­ing re­sponse for its ‘Mumbai Busi­ness Mis­sion’ that it con­ducted for its travel trade part­ners in the four cities of Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Lead­ing the 16-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion was Di­rec­tor Verna C Buen­suceso, Of­fi­cer in Charge (Mar­ket De­vel­op­ment Group), DOT Philip­pines. She said, “We re­ceived more than 100 agents and op­er­a­tors in each city. The In­dian mar­ket has grown by 22 per cent since last year and in Jan­uary 2016 we grew by 40 per cent. Our 2015-16 num­bers show that close to 75,000 In­di­ans vis­ited us. We ex­pect to see growth of about 25 per cent this year. In­dia is the 13th big­gest mar­ket in the world for us right now.”

She added that the DOT is now try­ing to ease visa norms. “We have al­ready in­sti­tuted the 14-day free visa for AJACSSUK visas. But since we are tar­get­ing MICE mar­ket, some­times it’s not rel­e­vant for them be­cause they are first­time trav­ellers. So we are now talk­ing to the Bureau of Im­mi­gra­tion and the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs about the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing group visa on ar­rival for MICE and leisure,” Buen­suceso re­vealed.

Thir­teen sup­pli­ers (five tour op­er­a­tors, four ho­tels and four car­ri­ers) par­tic­i­pated in the road­show. Out­lin­ing the main con­sumer seg­ments the DOT is fo­cus­ing on, she adds, “We get a lot of MICE and leisure traf­fic, which re­mains our main­stay. Aside from the key metro cities, we are look­ing at sec­ondary cities like Nag­pur, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.”

Ray­mond Glen A. Agustin, Chief Tourism Op­er­a­tion Of­fi­cer (Mar­ket De­vel­op­ment Group - Rus­sia, In­dia & the Mid­dle East), DOT Philip­pines, added, “We are look­ing for more groups, MICE in par­tic­u­lar but also wed­dings. Ho­tels can now cater to In­di­ans with food, horse-drawn car­riages, flower ar­range­ments, etc. ShangriLa is pop­u­lar with In­di­ans for this rea­son.”

Ray­mond Glen A. Agustin

De­vel­op­ment Group - Rus­sia, In­dia & the Mid­dle East), DOT Philip­pines

Verna C Buen­suceso

(Mar­ket De­vel­op­ment Group) DOT Philip­pines

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