THE Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) has unveiled its 2015 lineup ofIslands Philippines Fun Caravans programmes, introducing a new self-drive component for tours in Luzon and new destinations for the international market.
Three of the five “major” programmes – Cordillera’s Heritage Warrior, Southern Luzon Kulinarya Caravan, as well as Plains and Heights of Central Luzon – are Luzon based and offer a bring-your-own-vehicle option. The other two are fly-then-travel Bicol Express and Visayan Charms.
The three “minor” programmes, of shorter duration and smaller area coverage, are Rediscover Batanes, Northern Palawan (Calamianes) Eco Adventure Discovery and Hola! Zamboanga.
“The plan is to come up with 10 major caravan programmes eventually,” said Cesar Cruz, PHILTOA president. “For Visit the Philippines Year 2015, (the caravan programme) is the best contribution of the association to the campaign.”
The Visayan Charms and Plains and Heights of Central Luzon tours are broken down into three legs each to allow travellers to join in segments of their choice, while the Southern Luzon Kulinarya tour will be offered as a post-tour programme for delegates attending the Madrid Fusion Manila gastronomy congress and exhibition in April, he added.
The land programmes are insured with Blue Cross, and all itineraries guarantee security convoys and special assistance from the local governments.
Eleanor Ng, director of tourism services, Marsman Drysdale Travel, likes the flexibility. “The programmes cater to different markets, being action-packed but also very laid-back. You can bring your own car or ride with the caravan, or go as high as five-star if there’s accommodation.”
Eric Boroy, inbound general manager, Baron Travel Corp, said: “We’ve sent these programmes out to our partners, and there’s been a good response, especially from the Europeans, who want fixed dates for longer itineraries.”
As in previous years, PHILTOA would sell these programmes via a members’ consortium, which this year numbers 15 companies.