Philippines E-Newsletter - February 2010

This first quarter of the year finds the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) London Office relentlessly pursuing its marketing campaigns in prestigious trade shows and exhibitions in Europe.

PDOT kicked off the year with its participation in the recently concluded Feria Internacional de Turismo (FITUR) in Madrid, the third largest tourism fair in the world. This will immediately be followed by attendance in the Destinations Travel Show 2010 in Earls Court, London this month.

In March 2010, PDOT will focus on diving promotions by attending the Dive Travel Show in Madrid as well as the London International Dive Show.

In addition to the travel shows, PDOT continually implements familiarization tours to the Philippines for select trade and media invitees, with the end in view of generating greater exposure of Philippine tourist destinations among UK and European travel markets.

In this issue:

  Major Programs
  Destination of the Month
  Featured Festival
  Package of the Month
  DOT News

Major Programs

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Feria Internacional de Turismo (Madrid, Spain - 20-24 January)

The Philippines returned for the second consecutive year in Feria Internacional de Turismo (FITUR) with a large contingent of Philippine-based travel partners, such as Annset Holidays, Baron Travel Corporation, Hermes Agencia de Viajes, Manila Hotel, Shroff International Travel Care and T.R.I.P.S. Travel. All were on hand to present the best of the Philippines to the eager Spanish market.

Meetings with representatives from both media and travel trade were organized to discuss possible projects and business opportunities. Notable publications such as El Pais Semanal, Marie Claire and Paraisos are set to visit the Philippines within the next 3 months. And there are more Spanish tour operators that are planning to feature the Philippines in their 2010/2011 catalogues, such as Ussia Tours and Special Tours Madrid.

PDOT\'s constant participation in trade shows such as FITUR and other promotional efforts in Spain has led to the increasing number of inquiries and bookings from the Spanish holidaymakers, especially for honeymoon, diving, culture and leisure adventure programs.

Destinations 2010 (Earls Court, London - 4-7 February)


The Philippines will once again be represented at Destinations 2010 in Earls Court, one of the largest annual consumer travel shows in the UK.

This event is an excellent way for UK travellers to gain inspiration and information for future trips. PDOT has always believed in Destination as a barometer of what the UK market will prefer in 2010 and beyond. The event is also a perfect networking opportunity with both the tourism industry sellers and holiday makers.

Some of the leading travel companies will be at the event, and an increasing number have begun featuring the Philippines in their packages for 2010. UK tour operators like Audley Travel, Dive Worldwide, Sanya Travel, Silverbird, Luxury Holidays Direct, Senses Holidays and Bamboo Travel will be on hand to offer you your ideal Philippine holiday package!

Destination of the Month

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The Rice Terraces of the Cordillera Autonomous Region

At this time of year when the Philippines is generally free from tropical depressions and storms, the air especially in the northern mountain regions of the country is crystal clear. This is the best time to visit the famed Rice Terraces of the Cordillera region, where one gets the optimum view of their magnificence and breadth.

There are a number of terraces that can be found in the Cordillera region, but the two most impressive are the Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces.

Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, the 2000-year old Banaue Rice Terraces manifest the engineering skill and ingenuity of the Ifugao people, who carved the stair-like monument out of the Cordillera mountainside with only their bare hands.

The Batad Rice Terraces are shaped like a massive amphitheatre and can be reached by a twelve-kilometre ride from the Banaue Hotel and a two-hour hike through the mountain trails.

Featured Festival

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Panagbenga Festival - Baguio (2nd Week of February)

Celebrating 15 years of Festival Excellence


The Panagbenga (Season of Blossoming) Festival is the annual pageant showcasing the best of Cordillera\\\'s cultural and natural bounties.

The celebration every February kicks off with street dancing by children wearing outlandish costumes creatively made of flowers, both real and crafted.

Highlights of the festival include a pageant show for the Festival Queen; exhibits of the region\\\'s arts and crafts, flowering and ornamental plants and other native products; a village beautification contest; presentations of tribal traditions and rituals in dance and song. The festival culminates in a grand parade along the city\\\'s main road participated in by multitudes of people arrayed in floral garbs and intricately designed floats made of real flowers of all colours and sizes.

The theme for this year\\\'s Panagbenga is: \"Celebrating 15 years of Festival Excellence.\"

Package of the Month

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Highlights of the Philippines

The tour starts with a couple of nights in Manila, the country's capital, where you can explore this thriving, dynamic city which also has an ancient core.

From Manila, head into Northern Luzon where the dominant feature is the Cordillera mountain range. Here you will visit Banaue, home to the region's famous rice terraces, which were carved into the surrounding hillsides by the Ifugao people over 2000 years ago.

From Banaue spend the night in Sagada learning about the indigenous culture before heading south and stopping at the fascinating "summer capital" Baguio.

After sightseeing in Luzon, fly south to spend some time on one of the world's best beaches. Enjoy six nights on the island of Boracay with the white sands, warm blue seas and delicious seafood forming an appropriate end to your tour.

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DOT News

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DOT Welcomes British, French Cruise Tourists


The Department of Tourism (DOT) recently received the MS Spirit of Adventure, which brought more than 300 British and French nationals to the country, through its ground handler, Blue Horizons Travel and Tours, Inc.

The DOT welcomed the guests with cultural performances on each port of call. “A festive welcome serves to let them know that they have reached Philippine shores, where the people are warm and wonderful, and the destinations equally so,” shared Eduardo Jarque Jr., Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions.
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RP Tourism Gets Boost From Foreign Media

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has lauded the foreign media for the series of positive publicity for the country, particularly the TIME’s travel piece on Manila and CNN’s features on Boracay windsurfing and the Filipino's long Christmas celebration.

“The wave of publicity certainly helps usher in a good year for tourism. More importantly, the optimism of the foreign media reinforces our image as a desirable destination,” said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano. The DOT expects tourist arrivals to surge with the country’s exposure through two of the world’s most prestigious media outfits referred to by millions all over the globe.

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Mt. Kitanglad Birdwatching Site Now 28th ASEAN Heritage Park


The Mt. Kitanglad Range Protected Area (MKRPA) has been declared as the 28th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Heritage Park.

The pronouncement was recently made at the 11th Annual Meeting of ASEAN ministers of environment where the participants reviewed the region's efforts on a number of issues, particularly those relating to environmental sustainability of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said Wednesday.
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