Singaporean travellers warm up to the Philippines

TRAVEL consultants in Singapore are putting together more tour packages to the Philippines as statistics point to an increasing number of residents from the city-state heading there.

According to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT), there were 148,215 visitors from Singapore in 2012, registering 15.7 per cent growth over 2011. Singapore is among the Philippines’ top 10 source markets.

Having sold FIT packages so far, Joe Lim, executive director, Konsortium Express and Tours, will be bringing his first leisure group of 100 to Manila and Tagaytay next month. He said: “There is greater push and publicity to promote the Philippines over the past year so it is not surprising to be receiving a frequent flow of enquiries.”

A tour group offers an option for those who want “easy holidays”, said Lim, adding that he intended to introduce more of such tours.

Jenny Ho, managing director, Classic Travel, said: “The appeal of the Philippines to Singaporeans is that there is no language barrier and service standards are excellent. We want to see how we can promote more tours because we observe growing interest not just in Manila, but also in other areas like Cebu, Palawan and Boracay.”

A spokesperson from Econ Holidays, Jimmy Woo, echoed Ho’s enthusiasm, but pointed out that accessibility to certain destinations, such as Boracay that requires flight transfers, was still an issue.

Charles Leong, marketing director, DoT, said: “The perception of the Philippines as a fun and attractive tourist destination has been growing over the past two years due to better branding and publicity of the country.”

Referring to the tour bus hostage crisis in Manila in 2010 (TTG Asia e-Daily, August 16, 2011), he added: “There may still be that concern about safety from some, but most have already overlooked that as it was a one-off encounter.”

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