Philippines needs to define and retain USP, tourism players remind

Taal Volcano in Calabarzon

With the Philippines recently refreshing its destination campaign, tourism players who attended Messe Berlin’s Travel Meet Asia show in Manila are reiterating the importance of promoting the destination’s USP, targeted marketing and social media, among other priority areas.

Queenspoint Travel and Tours Corp president, Marlene Dado Jante, said that while there are a number of interesting activities that the Philippines can offer, including agritourism and tours focused on heritage and World War II, they need to be introduced to foreign clients and marketed actively.

Better marketing is required to promote lesser-known attractions like the Taal Volcano(pictured) in Calabarzon

She added that the Philippines has rural richness that are not yet well known.

Kristoffer Li, consultant at business consulting Frost & Sullivan, said that in a 2016 study for the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), they recommended “diversifying away from beach destinations” and creating more targeted campaigns including for diving, culinary, nature or heritage.

At the same time, another key finding in the Frost & Sullivan 2016 study points to the lack of awareness about the Philippines – tourists cannot find basic information like where to go, what to see and what to eat.

As for the top channels of information, Li noted that the Department of Tourism website was “so old” and compared unfavourably with the websites of other NTOs that are mobile-friendly, and have itineraries for various number of days and types of activities like those that can be seen on travel blogs.

Much of these recommendations, including the importance of user-generated content, were taken on by the Philippines’ recently refreshed destination campaign.

But social media is just one part of marketing the destination, said Blessy Townes, Discovery Hospitality’s head of digital & CRM. Townes advised taking advantage of big data, and search engines. “If your business is not in Google, it doesn’t exist.”

Gerhard Doll, general manager of The Crimson Hotel Filinvest City Manila, added that other important areas include fixing and investing in tourism infrastructure, going for sustainable tourism, and innovation.

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