DOT-TPB hopeful for more Japanese tourists

The DOT and TPB are conducting a tourism business mission in Osaka and Tokyo in a bid to attract more Japanese tourists to the Philippines. (TPB photo)

THE Philippine tourism agencies are wooing travel buyers in Osaka and Tokyo to boost arrivals of Japanese tourists in the Philippines.

In a Viber message, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Maria Margarita Montemayor Nograles told the BusinessMirror, “We are sending the message that the Philippines warmly welcomes our Japanese friends, and we are giving them a preview of our exciting new tourism products, which they can fully enjoy in a safe, healthy space.”

The TPB and the Department of Tourism (DOT) are conducting an ongoing  tourism business mission, which started on November 28 and will last until December 4.  The TPB is the marketing arm of the DOT.

Nograles underscored the importance of the tourism business mission: “Prior to the pandemic, Japan was our fourth largest source market for tourists, and now that we are in the new normal, we hope their tourists can push their way to the top of the market.”

In 2019, the Philippines received 682,788 tourists from Japan, accounting for some 8.2 percent of the historic-high 8.3-million arrivals that year. From February 10 to November 14 this year, tourists from Japan are in sixth place among the major tourist markets with arrivals at 75,564, representing just 3.7 percent of the 2.03-million total arrivals for the period.

60 sellers to meet 120 buyers

Aside from Nograles, also leading the Philippine delegation is DOT Undersecretary for Administration and Finance Shereen Gail C. Yu-Pamintuan. They will be joined by some 60 Philippine sellers such as hotels, resorts, and airlines.

In a news statement, the TPB said the tourism business mission in Japan is an annual program that serves as a platform for the country’s travel and tourism suppliers to meet with their Japanese counterparts to initiate and strengthen business partnerships.

This year’s event will include a Philippine seminar to introduce and update the Japanese travel trade on significant developments in Philippine tourism; Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings with a targeted 120 Japanese buyers; and a Philippine reception to serve as a venue for additional business networking.

Now in its 14th year, “the Philippine business mission  aims to generate sales leads, secure business deals, and gather important market intelligence for sustained and effective marketing efforts,” said Nograles.

Saudi opportunities

Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said her agency is targeting to train some 100,000 Filipino tourism workers for 2023. She made this announcement at the ongoing 22nd World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit Global Leaders’ Dialogue in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. No other details were made available.

According to the DOT’s Facebook page, Frasco also attended a bilateral meeting with her counterpart, Saudi Vice Minister of Tourism HH Princess Haifa Al Saud, where they discussed opportunities and potential areas of cooperation to advance both countries’ tourism sectors.

From February 10 to November 14, there were 8,902 tourists from Saudi who arrived in the Philippines. The DOT considers the Middle East an opportunity market, and has been participating in the Arabian Travel Market regularly.

Earlier, the DOT identified the need to train more Arabic speakers and establish halal restaurants to attract Middle East travelers to the Philippines. (See, “‘Arabic speakers, halal food key to attracting more Mideast tourists’,” in the BusinessMirror, May 8, 2019.)

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