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Freeman Cebu Business

Cebu tourism players woo Indian travelers

Ehda Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – Aside from the Australian market, Cebu is also looking at wooing the Indian market as travelers from India are now considering Cebu as one of their preferred destinations.

Travel specialist Alice Queblatin said that affluent Indian travelers are already starting to come to Cebu, stressing that "this market is very interesting."

In fact, to prepare for the influx of Indian tourists as well as growing tourists from middle eastern countries, the Tourism Congress, of which Queblatin sits as president for Travel and Tour Group for Visayas, is conducting seminars on Halal cuisine (food concepts), especially in neighboring destination like Mindanao.

Cebu hotels and Indian restaurants on the other hand, have already certified their kitchens for Halal preparations, thus, the group will have to prioritize the destinations in Mindanao, like Cagayan de Oro.

Cebu has regained its charm as one of the preferred wedding destinations in the Philippines, as wedding events by foreign nationals have increased in recent months stakeholders noted.

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa reported an increase of wedding related events, specifically from Indian couples, where wedding ceremonies are celebrated in an average of two weeks.

Albert Lafuente, the resort's director of sales and marketing, said that one of the fastest growing specialty events for the resort these days are the beach and garden wedding activities. This is one of the come-ons why Indian couples decide to come to Cebu for wedding ceremonies, including honeymoon package.

This year, Shangri-La's Mactan has five bookings for two-week Indian wedding events that blocked off at least 250 rooms.

Lafuente said Shangri-La is constantly investing on holding marketing promotions in India to further lure this particular market.

Philippines aim to attract nearly 70,000 Indian tourists this year, based on the strong arrival performance from this market since 2013.

As many as 52,000 tourists arrived in Philippines from India in 2013. And target for 2015 is close to 70,000 (tourists), said chief tourism operations officer (Team India) of the Philippines department of tourism Glen A Agustin in a report.

Aside from attractive wedding packages of Cebu that enticed more Indians to come, Queblatin said shopping and other soft adventure packages, and island-beach sites thrilled Indian tourists. (FREEMAN)

ALBERT LAFUENTE

ALICE QUEBLATIN

CEBU

GLEN A AGUSTIN

INDIAN

MACTAN RESORT AND SPA

MINDANAO

QUEBLATIN

TEAM INDIA

TOURISM CONGRESS

WEDDING

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