The Philippines is planning to attract 10 million international visitors per year by 2016, according to the country’s tourism ministry.
Announcing its ambitious target this month, the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) said it plans to position the country as a “must-experience destination” in the Asia Pacific region, with the roll out of tactical marketing campaigns, promotions and other initiatives.
“We have a very high target for visitors by 2016, but believe this is achievable. We have plans in the next few years to work closely with the… trade, by focusing on market development, hosting familiarisation trips, sales missions and trainings,” said Ramon Jimenez Jr, the Philippines’ Secretary of Tourism.
Attracting 10 million visitors in 2016 would be an impressive achievement for the Philippines, as it would mark a 150% jump in tourist arrivals in just five years. In 2011 the country attracted 3.92 million international visitors – itself a new record – and is expected to break the four million barrier this year. In the first nine months of 2012, the Philippines had welcomed 3.15 million tourists – up 9% year-on-year.
But its recently-launched tourism marketing campaign, ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’, combined with increased air access, could make the target achievable. Resurgent national carrier Philippine Airlines, which secured investment from the San Miguel brewery earlier this year, has placed orders for dozens of new aircraft, while low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific is also growing rapidly in the international market. Both airlines are planning to expand into the long-haul market in 2013, with routes to Australia, the Middle East, North America and Europe being discussed. Any direct European services however, would be dependent on the European Commission removing restrictions on Philippine carriers, all of which are currently banned from flying in EU airspace.
But the PDOT is committing to its marketing strategy. It recently created a new tourism video to back up the ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’, highlighting key tourism destinations such as Palawan, Cebu and Boracay, and is also creating online promotional games.
In addition to the growth of tourism arrivals, the Philippines is planning to employ 6.8 million workers in the tourism sector by 2016.