MANILA, Philippines – Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) is setting its sights on three new markets in Western Asia to draw more high-value tourists to the country.
Tourism Middle East Division director Francisco Lardizabal said that efforts are underway to bolster the country’s tourism promotion campaign in Qatar, Iran, and Israel, as part of the DOT’s market development efforts.
“Our current thrust right now under Secretary Ramon Jimenez is what we call market development. Under market development, what we are going to do is go beyond the usual marketing strategies,” Lardizabal said.
The three countries are considered non-traditional tourism markets compared to the major sources of foreign tourists in the country, like Korea, United States, Japan, China, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, United Kingdom, and Malaysia.
According to data from DOT, 2,589 tourists from Qatar visited the Philippines from January to July this year. Iranian tourists in the same period reached 1,980, and 6,900 were from Israel.
These figures pale in comparison to the estimated 90,000 tourists from Malaysia, the Philippines’ 10th biggest tourism market.
Lardizabal, however, said the three countries have the potential to bring in more ‘quality’ travelers.
“We are going now towards other market that have potential for high growth and market with potential of providing quality tourists: those who will stay longer and spend more,” Lardizabal explained.
“These are the markets, which will fill up your business and first class seats. These are also the markets which fill up your suites in the hotels and resorts,” he added.
Other new markets, which have already been tapped by DOT to draw in more tourist are Russia, India, other Middle East countries, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand .
Aside market development, Lardizabal disclosed that DOT also came up with new products to pique the interest of more foreign travelers.
The products include English language schools, medical tourism, luxury cruise destination, and diving and underwater photography.