SECURITY concerns continue to plague the Philippines as it tries to grow its market out of Singapore.
safe2travel senior manager business development/MICE, Teddy Lim, said the Philippines had all the ingredients for an ideal incentive destination but Singapore corporates still harbour doubts over the country’s peace-and-order situation.
“We are proposing Cebu for incentives, but most times, HR departments back out the minute they hear ‘The Philippines’,” said Lim.
Pan Pacific Travel Corporation Philippines vice president and assistant general manager Robert Dee said: “We are hoping for growth out of Singapore, but the problem of security always surfaces. The concept of security is taken out of context, partly because of excessive media coverage on negative events.”
Department of Tourism assistant secretary for international tourism promotions Benito Bengzon admitted that the Philippines still had to battle market misperceptions. He cited the TOP COP programme, where policemen are fielded at tourist attractions, as an initiative to overcome the security hurdle.
Meanwhile, Bengzon is hoping for 2011 arrivals from Singapore to at least match last year’s growth rate of 23 per cent. A total of 121,083 Singaporeans visited the Philippines last year, making it the country’s eighth biggest market.
By Ollie Quiniquini