DOT banks on PH twinning with Asian destinations

San Jose, CA—With Asia Pacific quickly rising to popularity as a preferred destination among travelers from the US, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has set its sights on ‘twinning’ Philippine destinations with those of other countries in the region.

Speaking to 40 Asian-American travel agents and media representing Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan; representatives from PAL, as well as members of the Philippine delegation, Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo solicited their support in strengthening people-to-people exchanges and tourism activities between the Philippines and their countries during the Philippine business mission held Monday in San Jose, California.

“There is no better time than now to leverage on the dawning of the Asian century. As early as 2014, the other side of the world like the US has begun discovering and rediscovering the Philippines placing us on the top four preferred destinations along with China, India, and Japan,” the tourism chief was quoted as saying.

“We will take advantage of the Americans’ interest on the Philippines, we should strike while the iron is hot and craft all the strategies that can capture the market to the Philippines,” added Purificacion Molintas, DOT Attache in San Francisco.

According to Teo, travelers from the US visiting the Philippines usually connect thru Hong Kong, while some of them fly next to Singapore. Citing a 2016 DOT survey, she said these US travelers also prefer Bangkok and to Kuala Lumpur as connecting flights to the Philippines.

“It is also interesting to note that 15.80 percent of these travelers from the US consider other traditional domestic destinations such as Cebu other than Manila; Palawan (9.30 percent), while 6.60 percent of them go to Pampanga—which has strong affinity with Clark, Subic, and La Union, especially among Amer-Asian descents of former US servicemen—and 6.50 percent still consider Boracay a favorite choice. And I am confident that this will continue to be commonplace, as our country’s air carriers like Philippine Airlines continue to expand its services in connecting our primary and secondary gateways,” the tourism chief added, citing some of the country’s existing inter-island connectivity and international connecting flights.

“Asia Pacific is considered an ‘exotic area,’ and everybody now is looking at the region as their new destination, particularly most Americans who have been to Europe, South America. And it is only now that they are able to discover the Asia Pacific region.”

“While destination twinning has already been an established program of the DOT in the recent years, we have been working to expand the reach of this strategy to new emerging markets like Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, among others. I have personally instructed our overseas offices to beef up their respective networks and hone them along the way. And in the case of San Francisco, this is the very first time they are touching base with Thai and Vietnamese travel markets, only this year. Our target for them is to increase these markets by 10 percent in the next two years,” Teo shared.

Molintas explained that the DOT San Francisco has recently started implementing this ‘twin-destination’ promotions in collaboration with DOT Los Angeles targeting Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, citing California, along with Vancouver, among hosts of the most diverse Asian diasporas in North America, making them perfect markets for the program.

Teo disclosed that  one of the immediate plans of the DOT is strengthening its partnership with the travel trade in the West Coast, which already committed to produce tourists all over the US to twin destinations of Manila and Bangkok in October this year in time for the memorial service of the King of Thailand.

DOT San Francisco is also pairing off Manila with Vietnam, with PAL offering special rates for Manila-Saigon, US-MLA-Siagon. The Philippine air carrier which has started giving out special rate promotions for Thailand, will soon be complemented by a network that will carry all tour packages for the country beginning the last quarter of this year.

Teo, for her part, enlisted the support from various stakeholders in implementing the ‘twin-destination’ tour packages, one of which is Philippine Airlines, which has been very keen to provide airfares at discounted prices. Eva Air, which flies to Cebu; Asiana Airlines, and just recently Korean Airlines which has added flights from San Francisco going to Manila, are among the airline partners which have been very supportive of the DOT in conducting its familiarization trips, and soon the Balikbayan packages.

“Twinning domestic destinations like Clark with other Asian destinations would be profitable as it is already a secondary gateway to Laoag, Vigan, and La Union, extending even to Baguio via TPLEX. Connectivity of our country’s secondary gateways has improved much better and making it even more convenient to travel,” Teo explained.

This will pave the way for the less-known and the least-traveled destinations to prominence. The tourism chief even suggested General Santos as one of the new destinations, which international boxing champ Manny Pacquiao could serve as a good leverage.

Teo is confident that twinning Philippine destinations will not only bring in foreign arrivals especially from North America, but also open up opportunities for domestic tourism and secondary gateways. According to her, the Philippines’ air connectivity has improved significantly over the years, which has seen the entry of China Air, Eva Air connecting Manila via Taipei and to Cebu-Bohol-Siquijor; Korean Air and Aseana Air also fly frequently to Manila via Clark, and between Clark-Davao; and Clark-Boracay.

On the whole, the US places second as the top foreign visitor market of the Philippines with 14.87 percent of the total market share, and bringing in 428,767 arrivals in the first five months of 2017. It has risen by 12.78 percent as compared to US arrivals in the same period last year with only 377,595.

Tourism Ministers to Grace UNWTO Confab in Manila

2 June 2017

Manila, Philippines — United Nations World Tourism Organization International (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb D. Rifai has confirmed his participation at the 6th United Nations World Tourism Organization International (UNWTO) Conference on Tourism Statistics happening in Manila from June 21 to 23.

According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, Secretary-General Rifai and the Tourism Ministers’ visit to the Philippines concurred with her confidence on the safety and security of tourist coming to the country.

Tourism Ministers from five countries have likewise confirmed attendance including Thailand’s Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Fiji’s Shaleen Ali, Sri Lanka’s John Amaratunga, Sudan’s Mohammed Abuzaid Mustafa, and Seychelles’ Didier Dogley. More are expected to attend as the deadline for the registration closes by the second week of June.

Chief statisticians from Belarus, Fiji, Kenya, Malaysia, Oman, South Africa, and Indonesia have confirmed to participate in the discussion of the Manila call to measure sustainable

There are 169 international participants from 65 countries, representing tourism and statistical agencies, tourism associations and enterprises, and international organizations, as well as 182 local delegates from national and local government, and the academe. tourism.

The conference, which is in line with this year’s celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, will discuss policy initiatives on the importance of developing a statistical framework to measure sustainable tourism on the global level.

“We aim to discuss and implement policies and programs that will raise awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism both to economic growth and environmental conservation,” said Teo.

“The year 2017 is a unique opportunity for us to promote the contribution of tourism to achieving the future we want – and also to determine, together, the exact role we will have tourism play in the sustainable development agenda, to and beyond 2030” said Rifai during the Official Launch of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in Madrid, Spain.

During last month’s World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), Global Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, Rifai backed Teo’s call by encouraging government officials to keep their travel advisories regularly updated and clearly limited in time and geographic scope.

DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo with UNWTO Secretary General TalebRifai during the signing of agreement on the Philippines’ hosting of the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics.

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UNWTO to push forward with the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism in Manila on 21 June

Press Release
Madrid, Spain
2 June 2017 
PR No. 17071

UNWTO strongly condemns the attack perpetrated in Manila yesterday.

On behalf of the international tourism community, UNWTO conveys its heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and to the Filipino people.

“The Philippines is one of the most consolidated tourism destinations in the world. We are fully confident that this will continue to be the case and we look forward to meet in Manila next 21 June for 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism, one of UNWTO’s major events. This will be the best expression of support and union against these hideous acts.” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.


UNWTO Media Officer Rut Gomez Sobrino

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 /
UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme
Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 /

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DOT Touts Filipino Resiliency, Sees Tourism Recoup

31 May 2017

The Department of Tourism (DOT) expressed confidence in the resiliency of the country’s tourism industry and its strength to weather any adverse effect of martial rule in Mindanao.

“This is just a temporary setback. We express full confidence in in our Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP),” Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo said during a dialog with private sector representatives at the DOT office Monday.

The DOT and stakeholders met to assess the situation and craft immediate next steps to address notices of cancellation of trips and hotel bookings from the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese markets.

A delegation led by Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr is on its way to Seoul, South Korea.  Its main objective is to dispel fears and the negative perception of our biggest market on traveling to the Philippines.

“Although cancellations have been reported, we want to inform our visitors of the wide selection of alternative destinations in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country,” Tourism Secretary Teo added.

Teo also believes that Mindanao can recover and regain its visitors, citing Davao City’s tourist arrivals of 459,104 for the first quarter of this year, which is 13 percent higher than the arrival of the same period last year.

“For most Davaoeños, martial law means peace and order will prevail and that this is a temporary situation, as Secretary Teo pointed out,” said Davao City Tourism Operations Officer Generose Tecson.

The DOT Regional Offices will provide crisis management trainings, offer alternative destinations, as well as promote tourism activities and destinations all over the country’s more than 7,641 islands.

Teo also assured the public that DOT will continue monitoring on the ground to execute further appropriate remedial measures in ensuring that tourists, both foreign and local, are kept out of harm’s way.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo assures stakeholders that the DOT will continue monitoring on the ground to executive further appropriate remedial measures in ensuring that tourists, both foreign and local, are kept out of harm’s way, following the imposition of martial rule in Mindanao. Also in the photo are DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr. (right) and Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre (left).
DOT spokesperson Frederick Alegre emphasized on the safety of the tourists and keeping them out of harm’s way
Representatives from the hotel industry, tour operators, airlines, and other tourism stakeholders shared their insights and reports on the status of Philippine tourism.

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