The Philippines Want To Lure Middle East Travellers

Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) is setting its sights on three new markets in the Middle East in an effort to attract more high value quality travellers to the country. Three countries will see an intensification of promotional campaigns for the Philippines. These are Iran, Israel and Qatar, according to Tourism Middle East Division director Francisco Lardizabal.

“Our current thrust right now under Secretary Ramon Jimenez is what we call market development. Under market development, what we are going to do is go beyond the usual marketing strategies,” Lardizabal said to the Manila Bulletin, a leading Filipino newspaper. 

The three countries are considered non-traditional tourism markets compared to Philippines traditional major markets such as the USA, Korea, Japan, China or Singapore. According to data from DOT, 2,589 tourists from Qatar visited the Philippines from January to July this year. Iranian tourists in the same period reached 1,980, and 6,900 were from Israel.

These figures are relatively low in comparison to other countries in the region which have been able to gain benefits from the presence of Middle East travellers.

According to the DOT, the three selected countries have the potential to bring in more ‘quality’ travelers. “We are going now towards other market that have potential for high growth and market with potential of providing quality tourists: those who will stay longer and spend more,” Lardizabal explained.

Among the potential activities to be practiced in the Philippines are luxury cruises, diving, underwater photography but also medical tourism and English language schools for a more studious holiday!

Tourist arrivals for the first half of the year reached 2.6 million, up by 7.6%. The government expects now that Philippines tourism will largely overpass the 5-million international arrivals’ mark by the end of the year.