Philippines sees opportunity in growing inbound demand from Guam

Tourists at Boracay in the Philippines

The Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT) will tap Guam extensively as an opportunity market, starting with its first sales mission in the US territory next September.

Guam is a low-hanging fruit apt for wellness and medical tourism, as well as shopping and entertainment, said Christine Ann Ibarreta, president of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International, during a recent meeting where DoT unveiled its marketing and promotional plans for 2020.

Tourists at Boracay in the Philippines

A resource person from Guam will help with the sales mission and related programmes, she added.

While arrival numbers from Guam are not properly accounted for, but lumped with their US counterparts instead, Ibarreta – who used to helm Resorts World Manila’s (RWM) sales and marketing – said the integrated resort has made positive traction in mining the promising inbound market from the US territory.

Guam’s close proximity – located just three-and-a-half hours from Manila – and cheaper air tickets make it more convenient for Guamenos to travel to the Philippines than other Asian destinations.

She said the Philippines can woo Guam’s insurance and other relevant companies to send their cardholders to the Philippines, instead of the US, for medical tests and check-ups. There is a limited number of hospitals in Guam and they must be US-licensed.

Guamenos also flock to the Philippines, which is gaining popularity as a tourist destination in the US, for dental and aesthetic procedures.

Concert tickets to catch K-pop and international acts are also cheaper in Manila than those starring similar artistes staged in other Asian countries, Ibarreta pointed out. Shopping and entertainment are also more wallet-friendly.

Alongside Guam, the DoT will also tap the US state of Hawaii, especially the Japanese and Filipino-American retirees.

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