Filipino agents urge better NTO promotions to stoke outbound demand

With the Philippines easing international border restrictions, including the removal of returning quarantine, outbound players in the country believe that Philippine residents are ready to explore the world once again.

However, Filipinos still lack the confidence to travel abroad, said Matt Poonin, general manager of Cebu-based Travelite Travel and Tours in Cebu.

Thailand’s destination branding and supportive traveller schemes have led to outbound interest from groups in the Philippines; Phuket pictured

To help stoke outbound travel demand, Travelite has partnered with Divaishnavi Travel and Tours as well as iTravel, iExplore Tours & Services to organise the 7th Edition of the International Travel Fair (ITF). The largest B2C travel show – back after a two-year hiatus – in the Visayas and Mindanao will take place from February 18 to 20 at the Ayala Mall Cebu.

During the tradeshow, the companies will promote both domestic and overseas destinations, shared Poonin.

Among the ITF exhibitors will be Turkish Airlines, which currently flies direct from Turkey to Manila, and has recently added a connecting flight to Cebu on January 4, 2022.

But without destination promotion support from the Turkey tourism board, Eric Papa, president and CEO of Kasel Travel Solutions, said the route “is not appealing for both leisure and incentive travel at the moment”.

“The prospect and potential of (Filipinos choosing) an outbound destination depend on the marketing activities of its NTO during this pandemic. It is noteworthy that Japan – despite closed borders – has been conducting continuous promotions in the Philippines, as well as webinars that started last November,” Papa elaborated.

A successful marketing strategy is also required. He cited Thailand as an example, where the Test & Go Thailand Pass and Sandbox programmes in holiday locations like Phuket have both enabled him to receive an outbound enquiry from a small incentive group for May.

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