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Philippines cited as Best Tropical Island Destination

January 28, 2014 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

morefuninthephilippinesThe Philippines continues to be a favorite destination among the Chinese with the country’s latest citation as the “Best Tropical Island Destination” by the prestigious Shanghai Morning Post (SMP).

SMP is part of the Jiefang Daily Group which merged with Wenhui-Xinmin United Press Group late last year to form the biggest newspaper company in China. The newly-established Shanghai United Media Group will have consolidated assets of 20.87 billion yuan (US$3.42 billion) and net assets of 7.626 billion yuan.

The Shanghai Morning Post Tourism Awards 2013 was staged at the posh Jing An Shangri-la, Kerry Centre on West Nanjing Road. Winners from various travel industry categories (airlines, hotels, domestic, and international destinations) were selected based on (Fifth from the left)  Tourism Attache Gerard Panga and other national tourism organization (NTO) representatives receive their countries’ “Best Tropical Island Destination 2013” awardthe consumer survey conducted by the news daily, in partnership with Shanghai QQ.com (one of the biggest social media platforms in China). Other winning international destinations with individual citation include Switzerland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada, France, U.K., and Korea which emerged as the most popular destination for the  Chinese travelers.

Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) Attache to China-Shanghai office, Mr. Gerard Panga, received the award for the Philippines. He was accompanied by Consul General Charles Jose of the Philippine Consulate General-Shanghai, DOT Administrative Officer Niel Ballesteros, and Mr. Orty Liscano, Manager of Philippine Airlines-Shanghai office.

“The recognition complements the strong market performance, and brand recognition for the Philippines as an exciting and fun destination for the ever-growing Chinese outbound travelers,” Mr. Panga remarked.

Based on the latest PDOT Visitor Arrival Report, Chinese arrivals to the Philippines reached 364,673 for the first ten months, with a growth rate of almost 70% compared to the same period in 2012. The increase was achieved despite the weather-related catastrophes, which affected travel to the country last year, particularly the earthquake in Central Visayas in October and the super typhoon Yolanda in November.  PDOT is hopeful that visitor traffic from this market will break the half-million mark by yearend.

Apart from the ongoing campaign and the market’s growing preference for the Philippines as a business and holiday destination, the continuous increase in Chinese arrivals may also be attributed to the tremendous support of the Philippine Missions in China and robust tactical cooperation with key Chinese travel trade and media partners, which resulted in the expansion of air access between the two countries.

According to Consul General Jose, the Philippine Consulate General-Shanghai expects to have a good start this 2014 with the surge in visa applications for the Chinese New Year week-long holiday starting this January 31 and other important developments in the first quarter, which include the Costa Cruise’s trip to Boracay and Manila (with a capacity of 2,500 pax); and entry of Spring Airlines for the Shanghai-MNL route (with five times weekly service in March).

“No doubt, this prestigious citation inspires us to sustain the confidence and patronage of this very important market.  Considering its huge potential in terms of volume and how it has evolved all these years, the industry is challenged to offer more interesting packages, unique destinations, and improve customer services.  Ideally, all our efforts should bring about top-of-mind status and higher volumes.  This is also an opportune time to thank our travel trade and government counterparts who have contributed a lot to the growing interest in our products and improved connectivity between the Philippines and China.”

Access to Manila was enhanced in 2013 with the opening of Philippine Airlines’ five times-weekly flights out of Guangzhou in July and China Eastern Air’s daily flights out of Shanghai in October. There are now several direct flights from different cities in China to the country’s major destinations such as Boracay, Clark, Laoag, and Cebu through Air Asia Zest, Airphil Express, Cebu Pacific, Seair, and China Southern Air. Plans are also underway to launch chartered flights to Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, and Bohol once the airports are ready to accept international flights.

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