MANILA, Philippines – A big chunk of the 15 million Indian outbound tourists expected to travel to Philippines in 2011.
The Department of Tourism’s optimism is a result of the agency’s recent successful five-day sales mission to India with an overwhelming attendance of close to 400 Indian tour operators/travel agencies combined in New Delhi and Mumbai.
Tourism Assistant Secretary for International Tourism Promotions Benito C. Bengzon Jr., who led the high-level delegation from the Philippine travel trade with Philippine Airlines, said that the sales mission has proven to be an excellent platform to develop business ties with Indian tour agents.
“We are happy that the business-to-business meetings (B2B) were able to raise interest in the development of their own tour packages for the April–June Indian travel season,” he said.
With more than 50 percent increase on target arrivals for India, the DOT would like to see the inclusion of the Philippines in the 2011 tour offerings by the outbound Indian tours wholesalers and travel agencies.
The Philippines is vying for the market’s interest for shopping and entertainment. Manila is considerably known to this market for its large high-end shopping malls, entertainment centers and gaming facilities.
In a related development, much excitement within Indian travel trade was made about the launch of Philippine Airlines (PAL) Manila-New Delhi direct links in March next year which will address the major connectivity concern.
Existing indirect connections with long stopovers result in trips of between 14 to 30 hours. With the direct service, travel time will be shortened to just six-and-a half hours.
Another important issue discussed during the sales mission is the visa concern.
Philippine Embassy in New Delhi Minister and Consul General Maria Agnes Cervantes and Philippine Honorary Consul in Mumbai Retnasamy Swaminathan offered to support the Indian travel trade.