British envoy suggests Phl to highlight unique features
Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - March 26, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippines is encouraged to flaunt and promote well its own local unique features, such as jeepneys, bancas, and similar trademarks to draw in more foreign tourists, particularly Europeans.

British ambassador to the Philippines and Palau Asif Anwar Ahmad suggested that jeepneys and bancas for instance should be highlighted to emphasize this unique Filipino feature.

"Make your jeepneys airconditioned and bancas ultra-safe. You should embrace your unique features, rather than copy attractions already popular worldwide," said the British envoy.

According to Ahmad the Philippines should  be proud of what it naturally has. Aside from jeepneys and bancas, Filipino food should also be promoted.

The food in the Philippines, he said should maintain its Filipino characteristics. "Thai and Chinese cuisines have become globally recognized because of their authenticity to their culture."

Strong branding and presentation should be taken into consideration, to add up to the diverse attractions, the country already has.

Ahmad urged the need for stakeholders to highlight those that are "uniquely Filipino." Jeepneys for instance, which is a popular mode of transportation, should be made more attractive for tourists.

UK tourists to the Philippines have reached 134,000 but this could be increased with more direct flights.

Ahmad likewise encouraged Filipinos to visit the UK. He said visa application approval rate to the UK is now at 90 percent.

Ahmad stressed the need to improve air connectivity from the UK to the Philippines and back.

For now, only one route flies direct to London via Manila.

He said travelers from the UK will have to take a 14-hour flight to reach the Philippines. After spending nearly a day to reach their destination, they don’t want to spend the rest of the holiday traveling long hours on buses to reach another attraction, he said.

He noted the profile of tourists from the UK are mostly families who have about two weeks to spare for holiday or students who are more adventurous, as well as retirees who enjoy going on trips to tropical places. (FREEMAN)

AHMAD AHMAD THE PHILIPPINES BANCAS FILIPINO JEEPNEYS PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES AND PALAU ASIF ANWAR AHMAD REACH THAI AND CHINESE TOURISTS
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