DoT targets US market with Philippines-Asia packages

Amid the US market’s growing travel interest to Asia-Pacific, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) is deploying a strategy to twin destinations at home with others in the region.

Addressing Asian-American travel agents and media during the Philippine business mission in San Jose, California this week, Philippine tourism secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said: “While destination twinning has already been an established programme of the DOT in the recent years, we have been working to expand the reach of this strategy to new emerging markets like Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, among others.”

Opening up secondary destinations; Colonial Plaza Salcedo, Vigan pictured

One of the immediate plans of the DOT is hence to strengthen its partnership with the travel trade in the US’ West Coast, which has already committed to bring US tourists to Manila and Bangkok in October this year.

Purificacion Molintas, DOT attache in San Francisco, said the tourism office in San Francisco recently started implementing the twin-destination promotions in collaboration with DOT Los Angeles targeting Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.

She added that California and Vancouver, being home to diverse Asian diasporas in North America, are perfect target markets for the programme.

With the significant improvements seen in the Philippines’ air connectivity in recent years, Teo is enlisting the support from various stakeholders in implementing the twin-destination tour packages, including Philippine Airlines; Eva Air, which flies to Cebu; Asiana Airlines; and Korean Airlines, which has just added flights from San Francisco to Manila.

The tourism chief is confident that twinning Philippine destinations will not only bring in foreign arrivals especially from North America, but also open up opportunities for domestic tourism and secondary gateways.

For instance, packaging Clark – a secondary gateway to Laoag, Vigan and La Union in the Philippines – with other Asian destinations could help bring the country’s lesser-known destination to prominence.

The US, second top foreign visitor market for the Philippines, contributing 428,767 arrivals in the first five months of 2017, up 12.8 per cent on the period last year.

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