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.
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.”
Development Group - Russia, India & the Middle East), DOT Philippines
(Market Development Group) DOT Philippines