Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo was recently in Japan with a 33-member Philippine delegation, which comprised 15 Filipino travel and tour operators, including Philippine Air Lines and Cebu Pacific, and hoteliers, as well as officials of the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board. DOT/Released, File

DOT to reinvigorate Japan tourist market
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is looking to enter into new partnerships with Japan to boost tourist arrivals.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo was recently in Japan with a 33-member Philippine delegation, which comprised 15 Filipino travel and tour operators, including Philippine Air Lines and Cebu Pacific, and hoteliers, as well as officials of the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board.

The Philippine delegation held bilateral tourism talks with officials of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism headed by Minister Keiichi Ishii.

“They will also hold business meetings with English as Second Language (ESL) groups,” the DOT said.

Tourist arrivals from Japan grew 8.76 percent in the first half of 2017 to 294,080, making it the fourth top source market for the Philippines.

South Korea remained as the top tourist market for the country, posting 795,085 arrivals, representing a 23.68 percent share of total inbound traffic. It was  followed by the United States with 513,443 (15.29 percent) and China (454,962  or 13.55 percent).

For this year, the tourism department is targeting 600,000 to 650,000 Japanese tourist arrivals, higher than the 535,238 that visited the Philippines last year.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. earlier identified more aggressive marketing and promotions initiatives as a way to lure more Japanese tourists into the country.

Last July, the TPB stepped up its promotion initiatives to the Japanese market.

Bengzon said the Japanese market is mainly attracted to the country’s beaches.

Teo , who was in Japan for the ministerial roundtable at the Global Tourism Forum of the Tour Expo Japan 2017, stressed the Philippines’ commitment for sustainable tourism.

Teo said  the Philippines would always be a partner in the worldwide effort to protect the environment and ensure the sustainability of the tourism industry.

“With the Philippines’ diversely-rich natural environment, Filipinos offer ultimate fun experience to our guests. But without collaborated measures on environmental protection, we cannot ensure sustainable growth of the tourism industry nor reap its economic benefits,” Teo said.

The tourism secretary also underscored  the importance of regional cooperation, as Asia experiences a continuous tourism boom unparalleled anywhere in the world, according to the year 2030 projections of United Nations World Tourism Organization.

“This growth is something we hope for but collaboration among our nations will be the key to continued growth, development and sustainability of tourism in Asia,” Teo said.

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