Expanding tourism relations with Singapore and Malaysia

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Saturday, July 19, 2014


THE Department of Tourism (DOT) targets 10 million international tourist arrivals for 2016.

The challenge to meet this goal does not depend only on traditional Philippine destinations that have been marketed abroad over and over again for many years.

For instance, Western Visayas—composed of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental, with the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod—has its own respective destination sets that could attract foreign tourists.

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While Boracay Island in Aklan continues to draw volume arrivals for Western Visayas, the need to develop markets for other destinations in the region becomes more imperative, given the recent development in attractions, facilities and connectivity to the area.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism officer of Negros Occidental, said that in response to the 2016 DOT goal, the 2014 Western Visayas Tourism Business Mission team went to Singapore and Malaysia last week to expand trade and tourism relations with these countries.

Called Business to Business (B2B) program, the delegation was composed of tourism officers and hotels, resorts, and travel and tour operators from Malay (Aklan), Guimaras, and Negros Occidental, according to Mansinares, who was part of the team.

Singapore and Malaysia ranked 8th and 15th, respectively, as countries with the most number of foreign tourists who visited Western Visayas last year.

These two countries are opportunity markets for Western Visayas given their expats population and being international hubs, so the Western Visayas Business Mission team went to these two countries to improve these rankings.

At least 40 travel and tour companies from Singapore warmly welcomed the group at the Orchard Hotel on July 8, while around 49 travel and tour companies welcomed them in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Boulevard Hotel on July 10.

The mission, which also included benchmarking, successfully generated business linkages, quality audience and inquiries in their exhibits, as well as on-site booking and MOA signing between local and overseas tour operators, Mansinares said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 19, 2014.

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