Philippines Tourism which has set a target of attracting ten million tourists to the country by 2016 is looking at tapping the MICE segment in India and increasing Indian arrival figures by 50 per cent this year. According to Verna Esmeralda Buensuceso, Director & Group Head, Europe, India and Middle East, Philippine Tourism, in 2011 Philippines recorded 3.9 million tourists, while the number of Indian travellers was 43,000, an increase of 23 per cent over 2010.
“Indian market is of significant importance to Philippines Tourism and we are looking to attract MICE traffic, especially the Incentives. In a bid to increase Indian visitor arrival figures, we are participating in tradeshows, conducting FAM trips for the travel trade, as well as carrying out sales missions and joint advertising campaigns with select tour operators in India,” informed Buensuceso during an interaction at the Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) that commenced in Mumbai yesterday.
Buensuceso concluded by saying that currently the main challenges in promoting Philippines in the Indian market were the lack of awareness and the difficulties in procuring visas. She stated, “With our visits to India, we are gradually building relationships with the travel trade and we believe this is creating much more awareness about the Philippines as a destination. We are also working on making the visa procedure smoother and easier for tourists.” She also said that Philippines Tourism is focusing on Delhi and Mumbai, as the bulk of outbound traffic is from these two cities.