It's More Fun in the Philippines Newsletter

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO)-ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate was recently held in Legazpi City, Albay. Delegates from 32 Asia-Pacific countries attended the following conferences over six (6) days: 40th Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); Plus Three National Tourism Organization on May 15-17; 26th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and UNWTO Commission for South Asia on May 18; and UNWTO–Asean International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change on May 19-20.

The Philippines was selected from hundreds of countries bidding to host the momentous event showing the increasing importance of the destination on the world travel stage.

In this issue:

  Major Programs
  More Fun Destination of the Month
  Package of the Month
  More Fun News

Major Programs


PH hosts UNWTO-ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change

It was the third global event after concluding a series of international meetings which included the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) National Tourism Organizations (NTO) Meeting and the 26th United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Joint Meeting of the Commission for East Asia and the Pacific (CAP) and Commission for South Asia (CSA).

The event convened world leaders and experts who presented and shared their views to create solutions and address the challenge of climate change and its effects on tourism. The two-day conference on tourism and climate change was divided into three sessions: Policy and National Strategies on Tourism and Climate Change, Opportunities on Sustainable Tourism for Building a Low Carbon Development, and Stimulating Consumer Behavior on Innovative Climate Change and Mitigation and Adaptation Actions.

Hon. Joey Salceda, Governor of the Province of Albay, gave the welcome remarks to the delegates. It was followed by the opening address of UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai who said that tourism has become a central global phenomenon in the 21st century. Secretary General Rifai noted that 1.87 billion people travelled internationally in 2013, generating 1.4 trillion US dollars worth of income, one out of 11 jobs in the world, and 9 percent of the world GDP. In 2013, the Philippines recorded a 9.56 percent growth in international arrivals with almost 4.7 million visitors from 4.3 million, while tourism receipts grew by 15.1 percent or equal to 4.4 billion US dollars (186 billion pesos).

“We are confident that tourism is a very important part of the future of the Philippines. This is an industry that not only creates jobs and generates income, it is an industry that celebrates everything that is beautiful in life, everything that we respect, everything that we cherish. I would dare to say that it is not only more fun in the Philippines, we even feel better in the Philippines. We are better people when we travel, and we definitely are ourselves more fun in the Philippines,” Secretary General Rifai concluded.

President Benigno Aquino III, who delivered the keynote address, emphasized that sustainable tourism is essential to inclusive growth. “Clearly, as long as tourism can be pursued in a sustainable manner, then it is certainly one of the best sectors to focus on--and one of the shortest and most efficient paths to inclusive growth,” the chief executive said.

President Aquino further cited how tourism in Donsol through the presence of whale sharks (butanding) has improved the livelihood in the municipality. Donsol grew from a sixth class to a first class municipality in less than five years. A sixth class municipality earns an annual income of less than 15 million pesos, while a first class municipality earns at least 55 million pesos.

“This growth has been felt across the board, most especially by the fishermen, whose income has been bumped up from P300 a day to more than a P1000 a day, depending on the season. On top of all this, the butanding has become an icon of Philippine tourism; they are even featured on the backs of our hundred peso bills. The success of Donsol is one that we want to replicate in many other potential tourist spots,” President Aquino added.

The government’s immediate response is to plan ahead and reduce the impact of the effects of climate change on the tourist destinations. It has included climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as disaster risk reduction and management, among the major considerations for future development. The goal is to mainstream climate change adaptation with local, sectoral, and national plans in order to guide the development of tourist destinations and tourism activities per locality.

At the end of the two-day conference, UNWTO and ASEAN approved the Legazpi Declaration on Tourism’s Response to Climate Change. Its adoption is expected to speed up initiatives at the country, regional, and global levels.

“We are very happy to host these international events, which yield very important agreements and protocols to harmonize, strengthen, and facilitate tourism development as countries and as neighbors. We thank the UNWTO and ASEAN organizers and participants for this wonderful opportunity to serve and share the world-renowned Filipino hospitality. We are likewise honored that the President has graced this culminating event, proof positive of his continuing commitment to making tourism a hallmark of his social contract with the people. We are therefore more inspired to work harder together towards achieving our economic and social goals, as well as contributing what we can to the best practices of the international community,” Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. said.

More Fun Publicity for the Philippines

The Philippines will be on the spotlight again this week on BBC as part of their coverage of the World Economic Forum taking place in Manila. Be sure to tune in for another edition of Fast:Track, BBC's travel focused destination program which will be featuring up and coming destinations and activities in the country and locations that have bounced back from last year's typhoon. PDOT was proud to have assisted the filming crew in their visit two months ago.

In addition to broadcast media, the past few weeks have featured the Philippines in travel publications, tour operator magazines and online blogs.

The Philippines has been a mainstay feature on Condé Nast Traveller. A full-page destination feature on the country appeared on its Asia Traveller Promotion section last month for the magazine's Hot List issue. For CNT's SPA Guide for 2014, luxury wellness centre, The FARM in Batangas was included in the coveted list.

Isobel Diamond, a blogger friend of the Philippines who was in the country earlier this year released a few articles on a number of online travel sites. An article on Cebu is featured on Planet Confidential, on Davao Oriental design on The Arts Explorer - and She will be back once again later this month to experience Palawan's attractions.

Luxury UK operator Steppes Travel is currently featuring a 10-day flight-inclusive holiday to Huma Island, Palawan on their Hot Right Now section of the monthly magazine. (check page 6)

PDOT is currently assisting in upcoming trips of more renowned journalists and bloggers who want to experience first-hand their own brand of FUN in the Philippines.

More Fun Destination of the Month



To celebrate UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai's visit to Bohol, we are dedicating this issue to the island in the middle of Visayas.

Hills that looks like perfect mounds of chocolate, primates so small, they fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, restaurants that float gently down a river are some of the primary attractions one will find in Bohol.

Getting there is very straight forward with regular daily flights from Manila serviced by a number of carriers. From Cebu, travellers can also opt to use the fast-ferry services taking around 2 hours from port to port.

The island itself is a fully self-contained destination where one can a range of easy to reach attractions on land and a plethora of marine species just off the southern coast.

Package of the Month


Family Holiday to the Philippines

Philippines Family Holiday Highlights from Steppes Travel

* Stay on the island of Bohol, home of the Tarsier and world famous chocolate hills
* Board a boat and sail across to Pamlican island to spot whales and dolphins
* Take full advantage of the kids club at our handpicked child friendly resorts
* Visit Caves on Panglao Island and marvel at the crystal clear water of Alona Beach
* Take off for the day with picnic lunch and snorkel and play Robinson Crusoe on many of the islands that surround you

Family Holiday Overview
The Philippines is an incredibly welcoming country and offers an array of fantastic experiences for a family holiday for children of all ages. For a young family, avoiding busy cities, such as Manila, may in some instances make the difference when planning a successful well-paced holiday that keeps everybody happy.

Arriving into the Philippines at the international island airport of Cebu is an attractive option. Falling immediately into island life by making a bee line for the white sand beaches allows the children to stretch those legs and run off energy accumulated from your flight on the very first day.

Spend time relaxing at Mactan Island, Cebu, knowing your children have a host or organised activities to keep them busy, whilst you may take the opportunity to indulge at the Spa, or dine in style at AQUA restaurant with the hotels babysitting service or the Shangri La – kids club available to 3 - 12 years old. During your stay at Mactan Island, it may be hard to tear yourself away from the beaches, but a fun Island hopping adventure can be organised. Before moving onward to your next island, you will be shown the highlights of Cebu city en-route to the ferry.

Easily reached by crossing the Tanan Strait, the island of Bohol is home to the Tarsier – a big eyed, insect eating monkey who is the oldest mammal now inhabiting the earth. Pamalican Island is beautifully scenic and from Bohol take an adventurous boat trip here to spot dolphins and even whales.

During your stay in Bohol there is so much to do. You will be taken to visit the Tarsier Sanctuary, reached by driving through wonderfully scenic countryside. Board a traditional river raft, which doubles up as a floating restaurant, and explore Panglao Island.

11 days from £2,345 per adult, £995 per child, including international flights. Child price dependant on age, and based on sharing a room with two adults.
For more info click here

More Fun News


Philippine Airlines and Etihad sign Cooperation Deal

Philippine Airlines signed with Etihad Airways what it dubbed as a “landmark” cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening both carriers amid growing competition globally.

In a statement, PAL said the partnership would involve a “comprehensive” range of commercial benefits to the airlines and customers. Included in its scope are code-sharing, frequent flyer reciprocity, airport lounge access, special pro rate and air pass agreements, and cargo cooperation.

The carriers, which have cooperated on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route, said the deal strengthened business and cultural ties
“This relationship will go a long way in providing our combined customer base a much more enhanced set of travel options,” PAL president Ramon S. Ang said in the statement.

“This also comes at an opportune time for PAL, which is in the thick of a fleet modernization and expansion program that will see the flag carrier pushing further not only into the Middle East but also on other parts of the globe using a modern fleet of aircraft,” he added.

The statement quoted Etihad AIrways president James Hogan and Ang as saying the closer partnership between the two brands would make them first choice for the more than 700,000 Filipinos who live in the UAE and who account for much of the traffic on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route each year.

“The Philippines is one of the world’s best kept secrets with great appeal to travelers from overseas. We are committed to working with the Philippine Airlines team and the Philippines tourism industry to bring more overseas visitors to their country and to increase the economic benefits of tourism,” Hogan said.

Hogan also identified the potential for both airlines to increase the volume and value of trade.

“Two-way trade between the UAE and the Philippines was valued at $1.4 billion in 2013 and the UAE is the Philippines’ third-largest trading partner in the Middle East. Closer cooperation in the cargo arena, one of Etihad Airways’ most successful divisions, has the potential for a boost to each airline’s bottom-line and to the economies of our two great nations.”

Etihad Airways launched services between Abu Dhabi and Manila with four weekly Airbus A330-200 flights in February 2006. Today, the airline offers twice-daily Boeing 777-300ER flights between the capitals. In 2013, the Abu Dhabi-Manila route was the airline’s second busiest route (547,68 passengers) in its global network. The airline employs nearly 1000 Filipinos worldwide including more than 270 cabin crew and over 20 pilots.

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