Koreans find more fun in Phl
(The Philippine Star) - June 15, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As of end-2011, the government estimates the annual number of incoming tourists from Korea to be at around 700,000 with the figure seen to even double by 2013.

If the local socio-cultural landscape is any indication — continuously inundated with Korean influences and trends in everything from pop songs, TV shows, to fashion — the Filipinos’ fascination and welcoming attitude toward this neighboring Asian country seem to be a permanent and lasting affair.

In fact, Koreans in the Philippines form the largest diaspora in Southeast Asia outside of their native country, and the eighth largest in the entire world.

For local businesses and commercial industries, this spells a wealth of opportunity to tap into a powerful and moneyed market. The service, hospitality and tourism sectors are naturally at the forefront of this boom.

“We have definitely observed and acknowledged the demand for easier, more convenient and more affordable air travel to and from Korea,” says Alfredo Herrera, chief marketing and sales officer of Zest Air.

Zest Air, one of the leading budget carriers in the country, is stepping up its game by unveiling a new direct flight from Manila to Incheon beginning June 28. The Manila-Incheon flight is now being offered at a special introductory price of just P2,999 (base fare only).

Zest Air now has over 25 weekly flights between the Philippines and Korea. “We have added more schedules to Incheon and Pusan from Kalibo, Cebu and now Manila,” says Herrera. “This is in response to the burgeoning tourism market in our various popular provincial destinations such as Boracay. We want to capture and service the market directly.”

The number of additional Korea flights is more than double its current offerings — a clear sign that Zest Air is shifting gears in its objective to be a formidable player in the local budget airline industry.

Herrera acknowledges this opportunity for growth as a success of the Department of Tourism’s highly engaging and effective “It’s More Fun In the Philippines” viral campaign.

“We want to do our share in support of the government’s initiatives to draw in more tourists to visit the Philippines,” he says.

Aside from its Pusan and Incheon routes, Zest Air now also operates other international destinations — Jinjiang, Taipei, and soon, Shanghai and Khaoshung. It is expected to announce more new and exciting destinations as part of its new offerings for this year.

“We want to help Koreans find more ‘jae mi’ in the Philippines,” says Herrera. “Jae mi” is Korean for “fun.”

To know more about Zest Air and to get the best deals, visit www.flyzest.com.

AIR ALFREDO HERRERA DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM HERRERA INCHEON AND PUSAN MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES AND KOREA PUSAN AND INCHEON ZEST AIR
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