It's More Fun in the Philippines Newsletter

Tourism arrivals and demand for the Philippines continues to rise as January 2014 figures have shown. The number of visitors worldwide to the country this year has increased by 5.8%, 461,363 from 436,079 in 2013. Respective European markets generated noteworthy gains: United Kingdom (+12.62%) with 11,098 arrivals, Italy (+25.04%) with 2,377 arrivals, Norway (+5.61%) with 1,882 arrivals, Spain (+10.18%) with 1,612 arrivals and Portugal with (+19.85%) for 157 visitors.

Receipts from the total inbound visitors in January this year amounted to $469 million.

The European travel trade show season concluded last month to a thrilling success for the Philippines with more tour operators, travel agencies, holiday makers enjoined to do business with the destination.

In addition to travel shows and events, numerous familiarization trips to the Philippines are continually being planned throughout the year to expand awareness and business for the destination amongst the media, consumers and the travel trade.

Another excellent news for the Philippines last 10 April, is the return of the country's aviation status to Category by the US Federal Aviation Administration. With this development, Philippine carriers can now operate to other cities in the United States and increase frequencies to existing routes.

Furthermore, the EU has formally announced lifting of the restrictions on Cebu Pacific Airlines to operate in Europe. A return trip later in the year by the commission is being planned with the prospect to lift the ban on Philippine aviation as a whole.

This will undoubtedly boost the country's tourism industry by welcoming more visitors with the increased route access.

Lastly, Boracay remains the top beach destination in Asia and included in the world's best list on Trip Advisor for 2014.

In this issue:

  Major Programs
  More Fun Package of the Month
  More Fun News

Major Programs


Successful Philippines Participation at Shows

Last month's trade shows, consumer events, roadshows and selling missions held across Europe proved spectacular for the Philippines tourism.

At the PATA Exchange in London last 10 March, around 80% of the meetings held with PDOT London were all new prospective tour operator partners. The likes of Grieg Smith Travels, Captain's Choice , Turquoise Holidays and Battered Suitcase are all on the verge of expanding their product portfolios to include the Philippines.

While in Paris and Madrid, PDOT organized a post-ITB Selling Missions with the aim to explore and gauge these relatively new markets. The selling mission which consisted of 38 delegates was headed by the Secretary of Tourism, Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. together with the PDOT officers from Manila and Europe. PDOT entourage was joined by the private sector which represented 5 Tour Operators, 4 Resorts, 5 Investment groups and Philippine Airlines. The program for both Investment and Travel Trade groups were also supported by the Philippine Embassy in Madrid and Paris headed by H.E. Ambassador Carlos C. Salinas and CDA Deena Joy Amatong, respectively.

In Paris, the Investment forum was held in the Darjeeling room of the Mandarin Hotel on the 10th of March while the Travel and Trade Workshop was held in the beautiful Salon des Miroirs the following day. Check out a brief video summary of the event here: (

Both Investment and Travel Trade Selling Missions were held at the hip Urban Hotel on 13th of March in Madrid. This was the first time that the PDOT has organized such projects to promote the Philippines to the business and travel trade communities in Spain. Currently, almost 50% of Spanish visitors to the Philippines are divers while the other half are divided into general leisure, business and VFR. (

With the recent visit to Spain and interaction with industry players, it is eminent that there is much growth and potential for the Spanish market especially utilizing links brought about from shared history that binds the two countries.

In Lisbon, The Philippine Embassy participated in the BTL Show, Portugal's largest travel fair last 12-17 March to ramp up awareness for the country. PDOT London supported the event with participation and sending over a breadth of tourism materials, flyers, brochures and the backdrop. Two travel operators Quadrante and Catai also exhibited at BTL and were promoting the packages to the Philippines to eager Portuguese attendees.

The interest of the Portuguese for the Philippines is at a high due to their growing historical awareness and seeking new destinations in Asia.

Rounding up the travel show season, PDOT London participated at the Cruise Show in Olympia for the first time last 22-23 March and received huge interest at the show. The cruise brochure was launched at the UK show to good acclaim. Feel free to download it here:
2014 and 2015 cruise itineraries from Silversea, Celebrity Cruises, Seabourne, Azamara Club and P&O whose growing stops and ports of call in the Philippines were also promoted.

Exciting Trips to the Philippines

PDOT assisted the planning and organization of a range of familiarization and press trips to different destinations in the Philippines recently. Large broadcast houses, respected journalists, freelance writers, tour operators, airlines and marketing agencies experienced first-hand, the massive diversity, attractions and friendliness of the Philippines.

Last month's Singapore Airlines familiarization trip to Cebu, Bohol, Boracay and Manila was well received by the participating Spanish operators. The operators including CATAI, Viajes El Corte Ingles, Tarana, LaCuartalsla, Kuoni, TUI/Ambassador, Viajes Andromeda, Southern Cross, Orixa Viajes, Globalia, International Travel Consultants and Tanden Luxury Travel were especially pleased with the business-to-business workshop with the local travel industry. in the coming months, these operators are bound to open up a new travel source market of Spanish clientele to the Philippines.

PDOT also facilitated the BBC for their production of Fast Track, a travel focused programme reaching 330million worldwide. The program is doing another feature on the Philippines, this time bouncing back from the typhoon and to feature new tourism destinations that have opened up. The show is also being done in conjunction with the BBC coverage of the World Economic Forum which happens in Manila in May.

Kavson Marketing, charged with setting up Rugby travel tours to the Philippines from the UK was in the country for the Manila10s. This year's famed social rugby tournament held at the Nomads Sports Club in Parañaque, Manila as usual featured international clubs and ex-professional players participating in a variety of fun activities. Kavson will be working closely with UK sports tour operators in setting up their packages for Manila 10s in 2015.

Helen Lungren, a freelance journalist is currently in Bohol. She writes for quite a few notable publications in Sweden namely, Amelia, DN, SvD, Aftonbladet, Expressen, Göteborgsposten and Metro newspaper among others.

Another freelance journalist, Lilla Loft from Denmark will be travelling to Manila, Bohol, Cebu, Davao and El Nido on 25 April - 7 May to cover the various regional attractions for Escape magazine and Berlingske Travel, a high-profile guide distributed with the national broadsheet.

Invitations are also ongoing for MICE operators across Europe to participate at the annual Philippine MICECON which will take place on 4-7 June at Clark, Pampanga.

Later in the year, the Alexanders, the winners from last year's DIVE Birmingham luxury show prize for a 10-night liveaboard on the Philippine Siren are all set to go in October this year. They have chosen the Southern Visayas itinerary taking them around the attractions of Cebu, Cabilao, Panglao, Balicasag, Pescador, Apo Island marine sanctuary and critter hot spot Dauin.

More Fun Package of the Month


Cebu Bohol, Duamaguete, Siquijor, Sumilon by Paradise Vacations

Paradise Vacations is currently running a tour to the Visayas region of Cebu Bohol, Duamaguete, Siquijor and Sumilon.

The extensive 12-day tour takes in the attractions of Cebu City dating back to the Spanish colonial times of the 16th century. Travellers then move on to Bohol, home to one of the tiniest primates, the Philippine Tarsier and captivating Chocolate Hills. The tour then moves to the seaport of Dumaguete, a university town blessed with multiple dive sites, beaches, whale and dolphin watching opportunities, waterfalls and hot-springs. Across from Dumaguete lies the enchanting isle of Siquijor where guests stay two nights before moving on to Sumilon.

Per person sharing a double room from: GBP 1719.00

Quotation includes:

International flights with economy class
11 nights / 12 days accommodation in the Philippines as mentioned in the itinerary
Return airport transfers in all destinations
All sightseeing as per the itinerary
Entrance fees at all sights
The services of an English speaking chauffeur guide.
All transfers in a private car
All meals as specified in the itinerary
All applicable taxes.

Read More click here

More Fun News


Ayala Land to Invest 6 billion PHP in New EcoTourism Project

Philippine property giant Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) will be investing an initial P6 billion to develop the first sustainable ecotourism estate in the country.

Located in El Nido, Palawan, one of the Philipines’s prime tourism destinations, Lio is a 100-hectare development that shall feature hotels and resorts, tourism and commercial establishments and residential communities with world-class amenities that blend with the natural landscape, according to ALI officials.

The first phase of the project consists of 25 hectares, which shall include a unique township development called Lio Beach Village, featuring bed and breakfasts, resorts, shops and dining establishments amid civic spaces. Ten Knots Development Corp., a subsidiary of ALI, will develop the property.

AQUINO explained that Lio is the original name of the area in El Nido [where the new project will rise]. It is right beside the El Nido airport.”

After visiting the project site, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. described Lio as “a new jewel of sustainable tourism in the Philippines.”

He added: “In more ways than one, we will find that Palawan and El Nido will become even more, as some people will describe it, as the most beautiful place in the world.”

International publications have recently been singing the praises of the Philippines and Palawan. The National Geographic Traveler tagged El Nido as one of the top 10 destinations for its Best Spring Trips for 2014, while Travel + Leisure included Pangalusian Island, another ALI resort in El Nido, as one of the Best Places for Travel this year.

*photo courtesy of ALI
For more info click here

Pushing Eco-Tourism as ASEAN Integration Looms

The Philippines, with its 7,100 islands, is one of the most megadiverse countries in the world, home to thousands of species of plants and animals. It is also rife with resources and locations that are just begging to be explored.

Considering this -- and with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration in 2015 looming -- the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has said that eco-tourism is an industry that could be one of the drivers for economic growth.

"Asia Pacific is really seen as a very, very attractive inbound tourist market," said Angela Consuelo S. Ibay, head of the climate change and energy program of WWF-Philippines, during a forum on March 24. "[ASEAN] will capture 30% of that share in the global market," she said.

Approximately 107 million international tourists are expected to visit the region in 2015.

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FAA move to boost tourism – DOT chief

The country’s tourism industry is expected to get a further boost with the impending opening of new destinations in the United States to local airlines, following a US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) upgrade of the safety status of the Philippine commercial aviation industry.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. made the observation in reaction to the FAA’s decision restoring the Philippines’ Category 1 status six years after it was downgraded to Category 2 due to safety concerns.

“This is yet another major boost to the Philippine tourism industry and all Filipinos,” Jimenez said. “We forecast even stronger growth,” the tourism chief said.
For more info click here

Cebu Pacific to fly to US, Europe

Budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) will soon mount direct flights to Europe and the United States.

In a press conference at the office of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) yesterday, EU Chargè d’ Affaires Julian Vassallo said they lifted the ban imposed on Cebu Pacific in 2010.

The US Federal Aviation Administration also announced that the Philippines has regained its Category 1 status after being downgraded to Category 2 in January 2008, which prevented Philippine carriers from mounting additional flights to the US.

The Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific is the second Philippine carrier to be allowed to enter the European airspace after Philippine Airlines.

Vasallo said the European Commission (EC) has unanimously decided to remove Cebu Pacific from the EU Safety List.

“The EC is likely to mount another EU assessment mission to the country later in the year to assess Philippine aviation as whole, including internal aviation, with the prospect to lift the ban on Philippine aviation as a whole,” he said

Read More click here

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