𝘉𝘌𝘙𝘓𝘐𝘕, 𝘎𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 — Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco met with major tourism stakeholders in central Europe to explore market opportunities in a bid to increase visitor arrivals from the region.
Some twenty tourism movers and players from Central Europe offered their invaluable insights and suggestions on topics ranging from connectivity, training, and marketing and promotions, as they met with the officials of the DOT on the sidelines of the ITB Berlin 2023 in Germany.
“We are aiming to invite more German nationals to our shores. After almost three years of setbacks and the global pandemic among the hosts of other calamities, we can finally say the worst is almost over, we flourished and we have survived and now the Philippines is thriving and ready for your partnership. Ready to receive all of you and the tourists that you would like to bring into our country,” said Secretary Frasco in her address during the March 8 meeting.
The tourism chief noted that Germany is the Philippines’ 11th biggest market for tourism in 2022.
According to DOT data, the Philippines in 2022 received a total of 39,013 visitors from Germany; 23,949 from France; 19,306 from The Netherlands; 11, 092 from Switzerland; and 8,964 from Belgium.
The tourism chief also disclosed that based on the data of the Philippine Retirement Agency (PRA), an attached agency of the DOT, Germany is the 9th biggest source market of the Philippines for retirees.
Secretary Frasco likewise apprised the participants during the dialogue of the plans and programs of the Department that will cater to the German market, including the Overwintering Program of the Department.
“And talking about this side of the world, as many of you know, while you are experiencing winter here, we are just about to declare the official start of summer in the Philippines. This is the best time to explore sun and beach destinations which we will make available for you through our overwintering program,” said Secretary Frasco.
The DOT’s report showed that the German visitor in the country stays an average of 14.50 nights when they visit the country, mostly for purposes of leisure and business.
Based on the same report, Cebu, Palawan, and Bohol are among the favorite destinations of German tourists.
“The French divers, they love the Philippines. What’s amazing in the destination is the variety of what we can do and we want you to work more on that. The Philippines is more appealing today to the French market. thank you for having us here. It’s really good, thank you for coming all the way from the Philippines to Europe. It counts a lot for us, it really means that you are invested in what you do,” remarked Gerard Carnot, Managing Director of Ultramarina France.
Meanwhile, Arnauld Devanley, Head of Agency Supply and Partnerships of Evaneos observed that there is a need for more tours guides who can speak more international languages, “I can say the Philippines is coming back,” he noted.
Secretary Frasco assured the attendees that the tourism industry is a priority under the Marcos administration, particularly on the aspects of connectivity, human capital development, and peace and security.
“Our President is very serious in ensuring that the gains that have been made as far as peace and security are sustained. Soon, the Philippine Department of Tourism will be entering into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of National Defense (DND) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for purposes of ensuring that the bedrock of our development of tourism is peace and security,” Secretary Frasco explained.
“We are very optimistic as far as increasing flights; in the short term, it may not necessarily take you directly to the Philippines but at least it will provide more accessibility in terms of having a secondary connection to the Philippines. We also recognize the necessity of providing training to travel agents and the provision of e-training platforms is definitely one we would take with serious consideration at the soonest possible time so we would be able to provide all the necessary information that your markets are interested in. As far as our people on the ground in the Philippines are concerned, we are continuing to train and that we are trying to reach the 100,000 number to ensure that the quality of service further improves,” she further assured the stakeholders present.
Among the other participants of the listening tour with Secretary Frasco in Central Europe are FTI Touristik, Diamir, Tischler Reisen, TravelTrend, Shoestring, Koning Aap, Avila Reizen, TravelTrend, PANGEA Travel, The Travel Club, Interface Tourism, Worldia, FTI Switzerland, Vögele Reisen, DER Touristik, Travelhouse, Asia365, and Tour Asia.
𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗚𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗺 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹𝘀
Maximizing her attendance to the ITB Berlin,Secretary Frasco also met with Coordinator for the Maritime Industry and Tourism under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Change, His Excellency Dieter Janecek on March 9.
The tourism officials discussed the necessity of enhancing connectivity between the Philippines and Germany, and tackled possible areas of collaboration with regard joint promotions to strengthen the Philippine presence in the German market, as well as best sustainable tourism practices that may be ventured in by both countries.
The DOT conveyed its interest to initiate German language trainings for tourism front liners, particularly tour guides, in a bid to further develop the tourism product portfolio offered to the German tourists.
The meeting was also attended by Consul Mary Luck Hicarte of the Embassy of the Philippines in Germany; Tourism Promotions Board Philippines COO Margarita Montemayor Nograles; and DOT Officials, Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, OIC-Undersecretary Verna Buensuceso, and Assistant Secretary Rica Bueno.