Philippines Tourism E-Newsletter - February 2013
The Philippines tourism industry continues to score impressive gains early in the year with unprecedented tourism arrivals, landmark events, more partner tour operators and more positive publicity for the country.
In 2012, the Philippines surpassed the 4 million mark for international arrivals. The country registered an increase of 9.07% with 4,272,811 tourists compared to the 3,917,454 arrivals in 2011.
After successful exhibitions at the Ferie & Fritid i Bella in Denmark and the Destinations Holiday and Travel Show in London last month, the Philippines has been highlighted as the "Guest Country" at the upcoming Dive Travel Show in Madrid in March.
More and more tour operators in the UK and Europe are continuing to feature the Philippines in their 2013 offerings. Existing tour operator partners such as Kuoni and Trailfinders are increasing the number of Philippines pages in their brochures. New markets such as cruise and adventure tourism are continuing to open up as seen by the increase of holidays offered by travel brands.
Worldwide attention and interest for the Philippines as a top travel destination continue to build up following its inclusion in top travel publications last month. Resorts in the Philippines are now increasingly being highlighted in prestigious lists by leading companies. Recently, Amanpulo was featured as the world's top underwater adventure private-island escape. Banaue, Sagada and Taal were also showcased in the first episode of BBC's Wonders of Life by popular British physicist Brian Cox.
In this issue:
Destination of the Month
Featured Resort of the Month
More Fun News
PDOT Brings the FUN in Denmark and Norway
The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) London and the Philippines Embassy in Oslo brought the tourism campaign, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” to the Danish market at the recent Ferie & Fritid i Bella in Copenhagen last 18-20 January 2013.
The Ferie & Fritid Show held annually at the Bella Center is Denmark’s largest consumer fair with over 40,000 visitors over a 3-day period. The event has grown that it now offers three main showcases, the holiday and leisure show, dive show, camping show and the golf show catering to a very wide range of travel consumer.
Being seasoned travellers, the Danish were very eager to look for new destinations and were delighted to discover that the Philippines is offering a wide and diverse range of unique attractions. Adventure inquiries, particularly dive holidays were high on the agenda for holiday-goers.
Earlier last month, the Philippines had a successful participation at the Travelmatch B2B event held last 10 January in Oslo, Kongressenter. PDOT conducted over a dozen sales calls with selected tour operators, airlines and media representatives.
Scandinavian tourists to the Philippines have been steadily increasing year after year. In 2012, tourism figures showed that tourists from Denmark registered a 4.24% growth rate while the whole of Scandinavia posted an impressive 12.32% growth in tourism arrivals with Sweden registering the highest growth rate of 21.33%. A total of 13,556 Danish tourists visited the Philippines last year comprising 22% share of the 60,334 Scandinavian tourists who visited the country in 2012.
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Finest Participation so far of the Philippines at the Destinations Holiday and Travel Show
The recently concluded Destinations Holiday and Travel Show in Earls Court, London, last 31 January - 3 February, experienced the largest number of visitors in recent history. 36,914 prospective travellers attended Destinations which is dubbed as London's largest annual travel consumer show.
For the Philippines, it was the most successful participation yet. The strategically located 12 sqm Philippines stand was inundated with inquiries and demand from eager visitors wanting to find out new destinations, packages and activities. In addition, a considerable number of inquiries came from travellers who have been to the county and are coming back to see more
Remarkably, there were 12 new cruise and tour operators selling the Philippines this 2013 that exhibited at the show – GAP Year, Intrepid, Infinity, STA, Explorer, Exodus, Paradise Vacations, Titan, Voyages of Discovery, GAdventures, Cleveland Collection and Trip Feast. Add to that Luxury Holidays Direct, Bamboo Travel, Kuoni (with more pages on the Philippines), Trailfinders and Audley Travel who have been selling the country for more than 2 years now.
There was an evident growing trend of travellers who reported that they have already booked their cruise holidays that will be stopping in the Philippines this year and were interested on the different destinations they could visit while in the country. Ships from the Royal Carribean Group, Holland America, Cunard (Queen Victoria), Silversea, Voyages to Antiquity and Voyages of Discovery have the Philippines included in their far-east and worldwide itineraries from 2013-2014. Some cruise lines are already extending the number of days of stop-over in the Philippines offering passengers a chance to discover more of the country.
Activities such as adventure holidays such as biking, surfing and trekking were also popular inquiries during the fair with tour operators such as Bamboo Travel capitalizing on the demand. An increase in both group travel and independent travel interest to the Philippines was also experienced which led to GAdventures, Infinity Holidays, Intrepid Asia, STA and GAP Year all launching respective tours to the archipelago.
One can say that the Philippines is well and truly now an “in-demand” destination.
Philippines is the Guest Destination at the Dive Travel Show 2013 in Madrid
In March, the Philippines will be having its biggest showcase yet for Diving in Spain. The Philippines is highlighted as the guest destination at the upcoming Dive Travel Show in Madrid on 1-3 March at the La Pipa Pavilion – Casa de Campo.
The Philippines will be having a 60 sqm booth at the event located at entrance to the show. At least six co-exhibitor partners will be joining PDOT and the Philippines Embassy in Madrid at the stand. Confirmed resort participants include the following: Atlantis in Puerto Galera, Atmosphere in Dumaguete, Sampaguita in Moalboal, dive and liveaboard operators Buceo Filipinas, Discovery Fleet and Thresher Shark Divers.
Fun activities lined up for the event include a presentation on the country's top dive sites given by dive operator partners, a press conference on the country's new tourism developments and cultural performances of Filipino folk dances by the Sinulog troupe among others.
PDOT will be showcasing its brand new promotional brochures and materials to the Spanish market. New dive, destination brochures and maps in Spanish will be distributed during the show. Special holiday offers to the Philippines from co-exhibitor partners and dive operators will be available.
Since the Department of Tourism launched the diving product in Spain over the past few years, the market has gone from strength-to-strength with top dive operators now listing the country among their best selling destinations. Reports by Spanish dive operators suggest approximately half of all visitors from Spain to the Philippines are divers. In 2012 the total international visitors to the Philippines from Spain was 15,985, an increase of 8.51% over 2011 arrivals of 14,648. The Spanish market continues to discover why diving is really more fun in the Philippines.
For more details on the event click here
Destination of the Month
The Calamianes group in the north of Palawan consists of 4 major islands – Busuanga, Calauit, Coron, and Culion. Like the rest of Palawan, the Calamianes offers a plethora of activities for the adventure-hungry visitors, ranging from hiking, rappelling, diving, snorkelling, archaeological exploration, kayaking/ rafting, sport fishing, beach hopping, tribal encounters and more.
Coron Island (not to be confused with Coron town) is blessed with a wide range of dive sites, ranging from shallow reefs to spectacular underwater caves. Coron is also famous for its seven mountain lakes, which are indeed the main overland attractions that provide views of stunning limestone cliffs from the Jurassic era. Among them are Kayangan Lake, which has been adjudged as the cleanest in all of the Philippines; Barracuda Lake, which is a challenging dive for those in search of the Calamianes Islands underwater Barracuda Cave; and the Twin Lagoons which are connected by a small underwater passage where cool, fresh mountain waters mix with the warm and salty waters from the sea.
Most parts of the island are sacred ancestral lands belonging to the Tagbanua, a Northern Palawan tribe. Some areas are not open to visitors, but despite this, the parts that are open provide some of the most attractive landscapes in the entire region.
Between Busuanga and Coron Island is a place called Siete Pecados – seven islets in a semi-circular string blessed with a shallow but stunningly beautiful coral garden. Nearby is the Maquinit Hot Springs, where visitors can rest tired bodies and limbs in therapeutic pools of hot volcanic water gushing into the open sea.
Featured Resort of the Month
Two Seasons, Coron, Palawan
A new luxury resort has recently opened in Coron, Palawan. Two Seasons Resorts, famous for its property in Station 1 Boracay, has just launched its high-end brand in Palawan.
Two Seasons Island Resort & Spa is set on a tropical peninsula in Malaroyroy, 40 minutes from Coron island. The property features a turtle and giant clam sanctuary and lives by its eco-friendly ethos.
The island has a 200-metre west side beach and another 200-metre east side beach with mangroves, sandbar connecting to an islet, lush tropical gardens, and a vibrant house reef are the hallmarks of this beautiful unique resort. The resort has 42 luxury bungalow villas that can house between two to six persons. Guests can indulge on numerous activities including diving in pristine reefs, island hopping in Coron's seven lakes, partaking in spa treatments among many others.
For more information click here
Philippines Tourism industry to generate 7 M new jobs
Seven million new jobs are expected to be generated from the booming tourism industry in the next years.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said people are expected to feel the impact of the growing tourism industry.
“What is beautiful about tourism is that it has a trickle effect, every tourism activity generates new jobs,” he said.
“And it is could generate not just additional employment for the people, but actually new which means these jobs never existed before.”
Jimenez cited among the new and atypical jobs are official board tour guide of the underground river, named as one of the new seven world wonders and official folk dancer of Abatan river, a new cultural attraction in Bohol Province.
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Philippine Resort - World’s Top Private-Island Escape for Underwater Adventure
Owning your own idyllic island may be out of reach financially, but boutique hotel experts Mr. & Mrs. Smith (www.mrandmrssmith.com) have come up with 10 exotic locales where you can feel as though you’re the king of your own small world.
The luxury travel brand has labelled exclusive Amanpulo in Pamalican Island, Palawan as its top place for Underwater Adventure.
Finding a secluded patch of pure white sand isn’t hard at Amanpulo boutique hotel on private Pamalican Island. Of the 40 rooms and 11 villas, 29 are Beach Casitas just steps from the water where reefs harbor jewel-bright coral and flitting fish. Inspired? The on-site PADI dive centre offers introductory dives, certification courses and trips to nearby dive sites where you can spy stingrays, splash with sea turtles and even find Nemo. For those who like to combine water with other liquids, the Kawayan Bar is a pontoon where you can lounge with a cocktail between bouts of duck-diving.
Living Jewels of the Philippines
Last week the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced they were joining forces to push local natural attractions to boost Philippine tourism. Brimming with bright promise, this planned collaboration between two Philippine departments is a very welcome development.
Officially called “Partnerships for Biodiversity Conservation: Mainstreaming in Local Agricultural Landscapes,” the collaboration is part of a $17-million project funded by the Global Environment Facility of the United Nations Development Programme. It will promote among local travellers and foreign visitors natural attractions in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Aklan, Antique, Cagayan, Capiz, Davao Oriental, Negros Occidental, Occidental Mindoro, Quirino and Palawan.
Aside from telling the world about the rich biodiversity found in the Philippines, the project will alert tourists about the urgency of protecting our natural resources and, at the same time, generate livelihood opportunities down at the local communities, too. Ecotourism projects are the rage, after all.
The DENR has pointed out that the Philippines has been named one of the planet’s 17 “megadiverse” countries, boasting one of the highest rates of newly discovered species anywhere in the world and the highest number of endemic species in the Indo-Malayan region. “These endemic species are our living jewels,” Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said in December. “They are irreplaceable and unique components of our awesome environment heritage.” Among the newly discovered species are 29 rodents, two bats, four birds, 44 reptiles, 29 amphibians and over 160 plants. The stars of the DENR-DOT mash-up are classic creatures such as the endangered Philippine eagle.
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