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Freeman Cebu Business

More direct flights indicate recovery of Japanese market

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The entry of more direct flights from Cebu to Japan does not only translate to the mere recovery of the Japanese tourist market to Cebu but also introduces the province to the younger generation of Japanese tourists.

Tourism capitalist Jay P. Aldeguer said that Japanese tourists have always had a strong affinity with Cebu, and what is good is that this particular market is known to splurge in shopping, food and other activities while traveling.

Vanilla Air Inc., a low-cost airline in Japan recently announced to launch a direct flight to Cebu within this year becoming the first Japanese airline to launch a regular nonstop service to the central Philippine island.

Regular direct service between Cebu and Narita is currently offered by Philippine Airlines, which operates two round-trip flights daily. The flag carrier is also in a code-sharing partnership with All Nippon Airways, ANA Holdings' core subsidiary. Philippine budget airline Cebu Pacific also operates four round-trip flights a week.

Large hotel/resort chains in Cebu reported a significant growth of Japanese guests in their respective properties. In fact, in some properties Japanese are now number one foreign guests overtaking the Koreans.

To further attract the young Japanese travelers, Cebu had been advised to consistently promote its destination and fresh come-ons to Japan to divert their attention to Cebu, where everything they "fancy" is here –beach, nature, shopping, health and wellness, food, among other.

According to Michiko Ono Amsden of Japan Travel Writers' Association, Japanese women including younger lady travelers are increasing in recent years. But, most of them have to be motivated to come like giving them a sense of being special and exclusivity. These women are willing to spend on luxury, personal pampering, and extra personalized services.

Plantation Bay Resort and Spa general manager Efren P. Belarmino said that the Japanese guests in the property increased significantly, capturing 40 percent share of the total occupancy of the 255-room resort.

According to Belarmino, the encouraging Japanese influx prompted Plantation Bay to invest on some adjustments of its facilities to suit the distinct preference of the Japanese market, including the younger Japanese.

A Japanese tourist spends at least US$200 a day in a destination. This could provide an earning of close to P30,000 for a three-day stay for a single tourist. (FREEMAN)

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