The Philippines brings FUN to the Middle East

The Philippines successfully rolled out its new tourism campaign It’s more fun in the Philippines at the recently-concluded 19th Arabian Travel Market (ATM) at the Dubai International Convention Centre targeting the Middle East high-end market.

Thunderbird Poro Point
Thunderbird Poro Point

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. shared, “As the region’s leading travel event, the ATM is an important venue to push our new tourism brand to various tour wholesalers and individual travellers. This is one of our efforts to tap the high-value Middle East market, considered one of the highest spending travellers in the world. This year’s participation is very timely to drum up awareness for our marketing campaign, as well as to sustain confidence and patronage from our partners in the region.”

With 54 national pavilions and 87 countries represented, ATM 2012 provided the Philippine delegates an opportunity to gain international exposure and strengthen ties with their counterparts in the Middle Eastern region and beyond.

Reed Exhibitions, the organizer of ATM, indicated that this year’s show witnessed a 10% increase in the number of visitors compared to last year’s figures, which registered over 16,000 trade visitors. The Arabian Travel Market has been instrumental in establishing productive business relationships between the Philippines and Gulf travel trade key players.

A total of eighteen industry participants representing eight hotel and resort companies, nine tour operators, and an airline company shared the 100-square meter colorful Philippine pavilion.

In keeping with the theme, refreshing Mabuhay tropical cocktails and captivating bartending exhibitions were showcased at the Philippine Stand, courtesy of TGI Friday’s-Philippines. Visitors were also invited to take part in the meme writing activity at the Philippine Meme Corner, which generated around 200 interesting responses on why it’s more fun in the Philippines.

In addition, the 50-square meter DOT-sponsored relaxation zone gave visitors an experience of the traditional massage (hilot in local language), Pinoy laughter yoga, and the Bentosa treatment under the care of therapists from Philwell, the country’s leading association of spa and wellness companies.

The DOT maximized the country’s presence at the ATM by dovetailing the Middle East roll-out of the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign through a Philippine Reception. The event was held at the newly opened Philippine Consulate office in Dubai, which successfully gathered travel trade professionals, airline executives, media partners, members of the diplomatic community, and corporate individuals.

The program featured a presentation on the new branding, the recognition of “Friends of the Philippines” in the Middle East who have been called upon to promote the Philippines in the region, a raffle draw giving away four Philippine fun packages courtesy of Philippine travel trade partners, and the unveiling of the Philippine photo gallery at the Philippine Consulate. Filipino talents composed of Dubai-based fire dancers and show band, plus a flair bartender courtesy of TGI-Friday’s Philippines helped in creating the evening’s fun atmosphere.

The Philippine Reception also coincided with the week-long “Eye on the Philippines” feature on CNN and the premiere broadcast of the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” 30-second TVCs on the same channel.

The Philippines has been given more focus in the Middle East with the appointment of a new marketing representative last year. Gulf Arab tourists, specifically from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are among the world’s highest spending travelers abroad with daily average expenditure ranging between USD 3,280 to USD 4,100 according to a study entitled The Outbound GCC Travel Market – Unique Trends and Characteristics. Compared to other tourists, Gulf nationals spend 260% more on airfare and 430% more on accommodation.

In 2011, the Philippines attracted 55,829 tourists from the Middle East posting a growth rate of 14.60% from 2010 arrivals. The first quarter of 2012 continues to register positive growth at 12.24%. Key travel markets in the region are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar.

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