100,000 In­dian ar­rivals in 2017

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.

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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

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