Philippines, an ideal tourist destination
The Philippines is starting to make ground in the Saudi Arabian tourism market, with the number of Saudi visitors to the Philippines on an upward trend since 2009.
From only 19,101 Saudi visitors in 2009, the Philippines attracted a record 38,969 last year, a growth of 104 percent. Last year’s total was a growth of nearly 29.7 percent from the previous year, while the average growth of visitor arrivals since 2009 has been at 19.8 percent.
The consistent increase has been helped by the Embassy’s tourism promotion activities in the Kingdom, in partnership with Saudi travel agencies accredited with the Philippine Department of Tourism.
In April 2013, the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Department of Tourism participated in the Riyadh Travel Fair. The event drew 998 visitors, with many inquiring about holiday packages to prime destinations like Boracay, Palawan, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island, and Davao’s Pearl Farm.
In December 2013, representatives from the Department of Tourism (DOT) came to the Kingdom to formally launch the Philippine tourism in Riyadh. The event was attended by tourism officials from the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and tour operators in Riyadh and nearby regions.
Also, the DOT, in coordination with the Philippine Tourism Office in Dubai, held a familiarization tour for attractions in Manila, Tagaytay, Clark and Subic.
This year, representatives from the Philippine Department of Tourism led by Glenn Raymond Agustin and Stalingrad Samson along with Glen Johnston of AVIAREPS (DOT’s Marketing Representative to the Middle East) and Antonio Rodriguez of Cebu Pacific, came to Riyadh for the Philippines’ participation in in the Riyadh Travel Fair which was held on April 15–18 at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Lastly, the DOT delegation met with the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) during their trip to Riyadh in an effort to promote tourism investment opportunities to Saudi business.
On April 16, they met with National Tourism Committee Chairman Mohammed Al-Mojel in the latter’s office in Riyadh. The group briefed Al-Mojel of Manila’s thrust to increase awareness of the Philippines as a top quality tourism destination among Saudi tourists through more visible marketing on print and electronic media and collaborating on attractive tour packages with local travel agencies and airlines.
For his part, Al-Mojel urged the delegation to focus on promoting the Philippines as a family-friendly destination, with a preference for attractions in the provinces.
At the fair, the delegation also met Hussain bin Mushayt, Tourism Department Manager of the Riyadh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), and discussed the DOT’s promotion plans in Riyadh and the Eastern Province.
Mushayt expressed his “excitement” about the intensified Philippine tourism promotion in the Kingdom and pledged that the RCCI will cooperate and assist the Philippines on its promotion efforts in Riyadh.