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Russian tourist mart remains untapped by Phl operators

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - April 10, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Russian tourists are choosing destinations in Southeast Asia for the holidays but the Philippines has yet to take advantage of this opportunity, a hospitality consultancy firm said.

Data from C9 Hotelworks Co. Ltd. showed that of the total 1.846 million Russian tourists that went to Southeast Asia last year, only 28,270 or 1.5 percent visited the Philippines.

The number of Russian tourists that visited the country is among the lowest in the region.

The data showed Thailand accounted for the bulk or 71.4 percent of Russian tourists to Southeast Asia last year with visitor arrivals of 1.317 million.

Vietnam came in second with Russian tourist arrivals of 174,287 or a 9.4-percent share, followed by Cambodia which received 99,750 Russian tourists or 5.4 percent of the total.

Indonesia and Singapore placed fourth and fifth, with Russian tourist arrivals of 91,937 or five percent and 76,830 or 4.2 percent, respectively.

Malaysia also had higher Russian tourist arrivals than the Philippines receiving 44,765 or 2.4 percent.

The Philippines however performed better than Laos, Myanmar and Brunei.

Russian tourist arrivals to Laos reached 8,582, while Myanmar had 3,749, and Brunei received 500.

C9 Hotelworks managing director Bill Barnett said the data shows that while Russian tourists provide a good opportunity for tourism to grow in the Philippines, the country has yet to attract that market.

To attract more tourists to the country, Barnett said the government should  come up with ways to encourage the emerging tourism markets such as Russia to visit destinations in the Philippines.

“It goes back to the government embracing the newly emerging tourism markets and putting in reforms to match its Southeast Asian competitors,” he said.

Earlier, Barnett said the country needs to develop more tourism products to entice more foreign visitors to the country.

Airports, he said, need to be improved to bring more people to the country.

The government wants to attract 10 million foreign visitors to the country by 2016.

According to the Department of Tourism, 4.273 million foreign tourists went to the country last year, up 9.07 percent from 2011.

As of end-February, tourist arrivals to the country reached 854,187, 10.5 percent higher than in the same period last year.

BARNETT BILL BARNETT COUNTRY DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM HOTELWORKS CO INDONESIA AND SINGAPORE MYANMAR AND BRUNEI RUSSIAN SOUTHEAST ASIA TOURISTS
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