Infra, promotions need more work-A A +A
Saturday, March 23, 2013
TO attract high-value foreign tourists, the country’s challenge is to boost infrastructure development further, an official from the German government said.
Christof Wegner, commercial counselor of the German Embassy, said the Philippines is lagging behind other Southeast Asian countries in terms of attracting European tourists and needs to embark on aggressive tourism promotion.
He said the Department of Tourism (DOT) and other concerned government agencies should work harder in terms of boosting infrastructure development, improving accessibility, and in coming up with interesting tour packages that link various regions in the country.
“Connectivity is a big issue for European tourists; second, is the difficulty to arrange tour packages that would link all the country’s tourist destinations particularly for inexperienced European tourists,” said Wegner.
Germany is the second biggest source of tourists for the Philippines in Europe.
Wegner said there are about 60,000 to 65,000 German tourists that go on vacation every year. Thailand is considered the top-notch destination among Germans in Asia because of its culture, beaches and nature.
Tourist arrivals in the Philippines reached 4.27 million last year, up by nine percent over 2011. The figure, however, is below DOT’s 4.6 million target for the year.
Germany is among the country’s top 10 travel markets with 67,023 arrivals last year.
Nature and adventure
The agency’s January statistics revealed that arrivals from Northern Europe totaled 18,903, growing by 4.17 percent from the same period in 2012.
“Nature and adventure activities are among those that attract Germans,” said Wegner.
Aside from tourism, Wegner also reported that the Philippines is slowly gaining the attention of German trade because of its stellar economic performance.
“It is the economic improvement of the country and various government reforms like curbing corruption that placed the Philippines on the radar of the German government,” he said.
Wegner said there are requests for a visit by the German business community to the Philippines to explore new investments here.
Germany is the Philippines’ second largest export market in the European Union. Wegner identified the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector as one of the Philippine areas of interest, on top of agriculture and electronics.
Trade between the two countries from January to September 2012 amounted to around $2.6 billion. German companies in the Philippines include Continental Temic, Siemens, Lufthansa Technik, Daimler Benz, BMW, Bayer, and Bosch.
Wegner said Daimler Benz has recently outsourced its accounting operations in Cebu.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 24, 2013.