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Five-star hotel in Mactan targets emerging markets

Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - February 18, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - As the Chinese market continues to soften, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa shifts its focus towards the Middle Eastern, Australian and European tourists to sustain its occupancy target for the year.

Albert Lafuente, resort director of sales and marketing, said that Mideast, Australia, and Europe are three emerging markets that Cebu should take into consideration.

"We are no longer aspiring for the Chinese market. We are not ready for them, because we have nothing new to offer yet, and we need to improve our infrastructure," said Lafuente.

However, Cebu is slowly gaining the interest from these three new markets due to improved direct flight access.

"We just need to bring them to Cebu", said Lafuente.

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa, the largest five-star resort on the island in terms of accommodation registered an average occupancy rate of 77 percent in 2014. It is expecting to hit a higher rate this year, as new markets are coming in, including the fast growth of Japanese visitors.

The development of new markets, the strong domestic guests, and the strengthening position of Cebu as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition), are just few of the factors that will push the resort's high occupancy rate for the year-round, Lafuente said.

The 530-room resort will work closely with the Department of Tourism for its series of promotions in these three new markets, including Japan.

Combined, the European market grew eight percent led by visitors from United Kingdom and Germany.

Australian guests on the other hand are growing at a five percent rate mostly as foreign individual travelers.

Central Visayas is now becoming one of the favorite destinations among the South American and Middle Eastern tourists, as arrival records of these foreign visitors registered as top two fastest growing markets for the region.

Latest record from the Department of Tourism (DOT-7) revealed that Middle Eastern tourists visiting either the four provinces in Central Visayas -- Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor came out as the second fast growing market for the region, with 44 percent increase in arrival in the first 11 months last year.

Middle Eastern countries include Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. — (FREEMAN)

ALBERT LAFUENTE AS THE CHINESE AUSTRALIAN AND EUROPEAN CEBU CENTRAL VISAYAS CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM LAFUENTE MACTAN RESORT MIDDLE EASTERN NEGROS ORIENTAL AND SIQUIJOR
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