Marketing seen as key to push Phl tourism
() - August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Aggressive marketing is the key to a well-developed and thriving Philippine tourism industry.

This assessment came from Globe Telecom international retail sales head Vincent Ong who joined Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim in unveiling the Pinoy Homecoming hospitality counters at the domestic and international wings of the airport here recently.

The unveiling of the picturesque airport counters by Lim and Ong officially launched the Pinoy Homecoming campaign in this city as a public-private partnership between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Globe Telecom in tourism promotion.

The campaign lures overseas Filipinos and their second- and third-generation descendants of various nationalities to visit the Philippines by honoring them with discount privileges from DOT’s over 700 merchant partners and special packages from Globe Telecom through the Pinoy Homecoming hospitality counters.

These incentives, including such amenities as “meet and greet” at the airport and a VIP reception in its Mabuhay lounge, are also aimed at attracting the eight million Filipino expatriates to spend their vacation in the Philippines rather than in other countries.

“This and other marketing activities are what we need to send word about Philippine tourism to the global market. We need to create demand and develop the market, and everything else, including product development and the entire supply chain, will naturally follow,” Ong said at the sidelines of the launch.

“Demand, which will ultimately dictate the pace of our tourism development, is something we have to work hard to create in order to generate the resources that the country needs to supply the requirements of the international market,” Ong said.

Similarly, Lim told the subsequent press briefing that the government’s open skies policy, while further liberalizing the aviation industry, would not just do wonders in bringing in the foreign airlines and their captive passengers.

Lim said the nation must work hard to sell its airports to the foreign carriers and its destinations to their passengers, citing tourism employment as among the biggest gainers in this marketing binge. 

He said the 3.6 million employed by the tourism industry, accounting for 11 percent of the country’s total workforce, could be increased to 6.4 million or a huge 20 percent of the entire national employment.

Lim also advocated the opening not only of the country’s skies, but also of its seas to foreign players to boost inbound travel and modernize sea transport.

Affirming the benefits of the open skies policy to Philippine tourism, DOT-Region 11 director Art Boncato revealed the scheduled start of Tiger Airways’ thrice-weekly flights between Singapore and this city on Nov. 1.

Boncato also cited ongoing communications with Lion Air of Indonesia to restart the Davao-Manado connection under the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines (BIMP) East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA).

“Airline summits for Mindanao and BIMP-EAGA are also being planned. All these connectivity concerns are enumerated in the National Tourism Development Plan, whose priority is to improve market access and connectivity,” Boncato said.

Improved market access through air travel is also expected to lower airline fares and further boost the DOT-Globe Telecom Pinoy Homecoming campaign.

The campaign includes a digital marketing component (www.pinoyhomecoming.com) as the medium for online registration, news on the Philippines and its tourism products and services, balikbayan tips, calendar of events, offers and promos, and directory of industry partners and DOT’s international offices.

The campaign is also supported by Duty Free Philippines Corp., Philippine Airlines, Philippine Retirement Agency, Western Union, and the other sectors of the tourism industry.

ART BONCATO BONCATO DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM DUTY FREE PHILIPPINES CORP GLOBE TELECOM GLOBE TELECOM PINOY HOMECOMING GROWTH AREA LIM AND ONG LION AIR OF INDONESIA PINOY HOMECOMING TOURISM
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