Philippines Tourism E-Newsletter - April 2013

Ongoing promotions of the tourism campaign, "It's More Fun in the Philippines" on major European broadsheets and magazines continue to generate positive awareness for the destinations, its attractions and people. As a result, more and more prestigious trade and consumer publications and even radio are taking notice. Over the past few weeks there has been tremendous exposure for the Philippines as the "must-visit" destination.

The London Dive Show held late last month was a great success for the participating partners at the Philippines booth, all received numerous inquiries translating into individual and group bookings.

New markets for special interest visitors continue to open up, notably surfing, cruising and learning. When the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) London met with major cruise lines during the recent London Cruise Show in Olympia, more companies were already featuring the destination. Ships from Cunard, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland America, Orion, Silversea, Voyages of Discovery and Voyages of Antiquity have the Philippines in their 2013-2014 itineraries and are increasing their ports of call in the country. Surfing is another activity drawing increased attention from potential tourists from the UK as noted by BBC's Radio 4.

The country is also emerging as the education hub in Asia with numerous international schools opening up to cater to various fields and expertise. For about a year now, UK's Bradford University School of Management has been conducting Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) for Filipino executives and foreign professionals in Makati City’s central business district.

All these new markets not just draw new classes of visitors to experience all the Fun in the Philippines but also raise the image and profile of the country on the global stage.

In this issue:

  Major Programs
  Festival of the Month
  More Fun News

Major Programs

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PDOT London happily reports growth and participation during LIDS 2013

The 2013 London International Dive Show (LIDS) is one of the most sought after and largest dive shows in the United Kingdom, held at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in Royal Victoria Docklands. It has been recognised in successfully bringing together hundreds of dive companies that showcase the latest equipment, services and technology for the diving industry.

The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) has been actively participating in the LIDS since 2005 and has continued to gain interest in the capital’s international dive industry. This year, PDOT is happy to report growth in terms of participation from dive tour operators and the relatively significant increase in numbers of bookings for larger groups as compared to previous year’s results. Dive tour operators like Buceo Filipinas, Dive Safari Asia, Equator Diving, Evolution Diving, Gifto Travels, Thresher Shark Divers and Ultimate Diving joined the booth.

PDOT’s booth area was situated on the immediate main entrance to the Exhibition Area and was very visible for people entering the hall. It depicted the look, feel and energy of the Filipino diving culture all under one booth that displayed the campaign “Diving. More fun in the Philippines”. The booth was designed to maximise space and viewing opportunity by having large images on its four-sided top wall made up of a whale shark, cuddling mandarin fish, Moalboal’s famous sardine run and divers on a liveaboard safari. A high-definition Blu Ray video of the country’s famous dive sites by TXL Video was looped to play in a large screen in the main front attracting interested people from the main entrance into the booth.

Souvenirs like colourful, largely visual straw hats and bags successfully drew more traffic to the booth as they were handed out to people who visited. Along with these, several prizes were raffled off by the tour operators such as return tickets to the Philippines via Etihad care of Gifto Travels, a seven-night stay in Atlantis Resort care of Equator Diving and a dive holiday to Anilao from Buceo Filipinas.

Atlantis Azores Liveaboard garnered second place at The Diver Awards 2013 in the category Newcomer of the Year which was received by the Department’s own Chit Afuang on request of John Boozer, Vice President-Sales, Atlantis Philippines. Atlantis Azores was voted by the readers of Diver Magazine and visitors to www.Divernet.com

One significant result is the continued participation of Equator Diving in the Philippines booth that was highly successful in terms of group bookings: 17 pax will depart for Anilao in April and will extend and continue diving in Club Paradise, Dimakya Island in Coron, Palawan.

We would like to thank the very active participation of the dive tour operators at this year’s event. They were the highlight and content of the Phillippines booth who served as the country’s ambassadors of the dive industry.

View the photo gallery click here

Fun Tourism Publicity for the Philippines in UK and Spain


From March - April, the Philippines received numerous publicity from travel and trade publications, broadsheets and online blogs in the United Kingdom and Spain.

The Philippines was noted in the April Issue of travel trade publication Selling Long Haul, distributed to over 17,000 individuals in the industry. It emphasized two markets in particular - diving and cruising for the country. Palawan, namely Coron, Tubbataha Reef and El Nido were all part of the top 6 diving spots in Asia. Puerto Princesa on the other hand was listed as a new port destination for P&O Cruises in 2014.
http://content.yudu.com/A248sz/SLHApril2013/resources/1.htm
(See pages 41 and 53)

Added exposure as a result of the Philippines participation at the Dive Travel Show in Madrid last month continued unabated. On Buceadores Magazine for its April-June 2013, an impressive 7-page spread on Philippines diving was presented including new dive destinations in Mindanao. La Razon, a daily broadsheet in Spain displayed an interview with Marie Venus Q. Tan last 7 April discussing the Philippines participation as guest destination for the event - http://www.larazon.es/damesuplementos/salud/2013-04-07_SAL/index.html#/22/ AQua Magazine too highlighted the report on the Dive Travel Show 2013 with notes on the Philippines' activities as guest country - http://www.revistaaqua.com/analisis-del-dive-travel-show2destinos-y-agencias-de-viaje/

In travel website, Savoir There by travel blogger Jaillan Yehai, the Philippines was featured twice in her article "How to do a 10-point end-of-tax-year assessment by a Travel Blogger". Topping the list was "Snorkelling in a Santa Suit on Christmas Day", which was done by the author and her group in pristine El Nido last year. Down the list was "Partying to Gangnam style with an entire Filipino town"- http://www.savoirthere.com/9659/how-to-do-a-10-point-end-of-tax-year-assessment-travel-blogger-style/

Last Monday, 15 April, a brilliant feature on filming in the Philippines particularly the movie "Apocalypse Now" and subsequent international productions done in the country was broadcast over BBC's Radio 4 in the morning. The piece also talked about how surfing destinations in the country have grown to international acclaim. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22149842 An article on the same subject titled, “Charlie Does Surf” posted on BBC’s Website and was one of the most popular articles on the day it was published - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21941069

Last, but definitely not least, is the excellent coverage on the Philippines in the May 2013 issue of Condé Nast Traveller. This terrific feature encompasses new hotels/resorts such as Fairmont, Raffles and Abaca Resort. It also mentioned to explore Intramuros in the capital via Jeepney Tours, a day tour to Vigan and a visit to Sitio Remedios furniture shop, and ‘must-see’ Puerto Princesa National Park in the province of Palawan. The exposure jibes with the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” tourism campaign in Condé Nast during the last two quarters.

Be sure to grab a copy of the magazine, check out the online articles on the Philippines and spread the FUN!
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Festival of the Month

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Pahiyas Festival in Lucban Quezon

Pahiyas (precious offering) is a festival held in the towns of Sariaya and Lucban in Quezon province to honour the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro Labrador.

During the festival, each household tries to outdo each other in friendly competition as they vie for honour of recognizing their creativity. Houses are decorated with a vibrant display of various colourful produce with the most attractive décor coming in the form of "Kiping". Kiping is made from ground rice flour, shaped using "cabal" leaves or other leaf forms and coloured in radiant bright shades. These are shaped and strung together to form all sorts of adornments and décor, from chandelier called "ARANGYA" to huge flowers.

More Fun News

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Philippines Emerging as Asia’s Education Hub

While the stock market sleeps on evenings and weekends, the ground floor of the Makati Stock Exchange Building on Ayala Avenue turns into a school for business executives, who want to go global. Specifically, it’s one of United Kingdom’s elite international business schools, the Bradford University School of Management, conducting Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Makati City’s central business district for Filipino executives and foreign professionals.

For just about a year now, the Bradford University School of Management has been offering MBA courses in Manila.The international business school has always been at the top 100 of the Financial Times’ annual global MBA rankings.

“It’s an opportunity for Filipino professionals and expats, who want to raise their managerial skills and business know-how to global standards,” says David Esteban, Bradford MBA Manila’s marketing director. David launched the Bradford Modular Executive MBA in the Philippines with his elder brother, Tony Esteban, in January 2012. Tony is the executive director of the Australian International School (AIS), Bradford’s partner here in Manila.

“We chose to partner with the University of Bradford because we believe they offer a real value proposition for the Philippine market,” explains Tony. “By bringing together students and academics from around the world, including leading Filipino business educators, the Bradford MBA is global in perspective as well as locally relevant.”

Bradford considers the MBA earned in Manila equivalent to the MBA earned in the UK. Bradford faculty from the UK fly in to Manila to personally facilitate classes, while local tutors assist to bring local relevance and application.

Read More click here

El Nido Wins Global Tourism Award


The Philippines’ El Nido Resorts was among the four leading sustainable tourism businesses and destinations awarded at the recentl World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (TTA) in Abu Dhabi.

TTA, dubbed the “Oscars” of worldwide tourism awards, showcase and celebrate travel and tourism businesses and destinations around the world, who are leading the way in sustainable tourism and have successfully balanced people, planet, and profits.

El Nido Resorts (Ten Knots Development Corporation) bagged the Community Benefit Award for playing a vital role in community development and livelihood.

“Ninety percent of its staff – including senior level positions – is from the local area. It also actively supports staff development and the creation of community enterprises. Examples include micro-finance support to employees who now own and manage recycling facilities, provide boat transfers and excursions and produce a diversity of fresh, local farm products, among other businesses,” WTTC said in a statement published on its website, www.wttc.org.

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The Philippines in Ratings Heaven

MANY emerging economies rely on foreign creditors to bridge the gap between their exports and imports. The Philippines is a bit different. It relies on overseas employers. Over 10m Filipinos, equivalent to about a quarter of the country’s labour force, live or work abroad, permanently or temporarily, legally or illegally, in over 200 countries. Their remittances are equivalent to 8.5% of GDP, helping the country to plug its trade deficit and amass over $80 billion of currency reserves. As a result, the Philippines has become a net creditor to the rest of the world (see chart), not just a net supplier of labour.

These impregnable external finances are one reason why Fitch, a ratings agency, awarded the Philippines its first ever investment-grade credit rating on March 28th. The upgrade was long awaited and warmly greeted. The governor of the central bank was at first quoted as saying that it represented “the seal of God”, which might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about a ratings agency. His actual words were more mundane: he said it was “the seal of good…good housekeeping”.

Read More click here

World’s Best Cruise Ship MS Europa Drops Anchor in Boracay


Regarded one of – if not THE best – luxury liners in the world, the MS Europa arrived in Boracay Island with some 750 European tourists and crew on board.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Boracay said the MS Europa docked at the Cagban jetty port in Boracay Island where several local government officials in Aklan and concerned lined government agencies gave a warm welcome for the visiting tourists.
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