Continuing surge of Chinese tourists in Philippines in the next five years seen

PHILIPPINE tourism officials who attended the inauguration of the tourism office of the Department of Tourism at the Philippine Embassy here had predicted “a continuing surge of Chinese travelers and tourists in the Philippines within the next five years.’’

The tourism office inaugural was made as a preparation to serve the needs of a market that stands to become the largest source of outbound tourists by 2020. World Tourism Organization (WTO) recent studies showed that Chinese outbound tourists, now at 20 million annually, could skyrocket to 130 million in the next 13 years and the Philippines wants a fraction of this. The tourism office will be headed by Jazmin C. Esguerra, who has extensive experience in selling the country to the world having been stationed in Paris for many years as RP tourism attache.

“If all the plans and programs that we are currently undertaking in the Philippine Tourism Authority and the Department of Tourism are ably supported by the private sector, we foresee a continuing surge of Chinese travelers and tourists in our country within the next five years,’’ said PTA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Robert Dean S. Barbers.

He said this will create more jobs and livelihood opportunities supporting President Arroyo’s 10-point agenda.

Barbers said that one of the solutions to the ballooning fiscal deficit advocated by the Arroyo Administration is to increase government revenue by supporting the tourism industry. Given the order to expedite and bolster tourism development by President Arroyo, PTA GM Dean Barbers avowed, “The Philippine Tourism Authority shall provide local and foreign tourists alternative destinations that are competitive yet affordable by international standards.”

Barbers, a lead member of the Philippine delegation that attended the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2004 (BITE 2004) held here last July 22 , added that BITE was a good opportunity to showcase the history and culture and the many attractive places of a country “whose people always wears a beautiful smile.”

He was also a member of the Philippine delegation headed by Tourism Secretary Roberto “Obet” Pagdanganan to the opening of the RP tourism office at the Embassy of the Philippines in Beijing.

With the delegation are other DoT and PTA officials and representatives of big travel agencies that regularly send Filipino tourists to China and at the same time bring Chinese travelers to the Philippines. It includes Tourism Undersecretary Romulo Ting de los Reyes, Ireneo H. Reyes, DoT senior tourism operations officers, Sarita Ablan, sales & marketing manager of Fort Ilocandia Golf & Country Club, Dodie F. King, managing head PRIME department of Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. and Leah L. V. Manaloto, DoT sales manager and Sunny M.H. Cho, market representative of Philippine Tourism Office-Korea..

“We were able to touch base with the Beijing Tourism Administration, the counterpart of our own Department of Tourism, as well as with the association of travel agencies in China, and forged a commitment to have a bilateral agreement encouraging Chinese tourists to visit and discover what the Philippines has to offer in terms of tourist attractions and value-for-your-money shopping galore, an experience enriched by the world famous Filipino hospitality,” the PTA GM exclaimed.

BITE 2004 was a window of opportunity for participating countries to tap the immensely lucrative and booming travel and tourism market in China. The Expo was also an opportunity for young and dynamic Dean Barbers to showcase the Philippines and target the single premium marketplace of many otherwise travel-smitten Chinese consumers.

“The Chinese showed a keen interest in visiting the Philippines because of our centuries-old trading history and familial ties. Delegates and visitors from other countries also expressed their interest in visiting the Philippines, especially with the travel trend moving towards short hauls or four-seven hr. flights,” quipped Dean Barbers.

The BITE 2004 was widely supported by several countries in Asia, Africa and Europe that included the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece and Kenya.

author: Cornelio R. De Guzman/Manila Bulletin

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