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Philippines to hold ATF 2007 at Clark
Caroline Boey, Langkawi

Caroline Boey, Langkawi  
(26th Jan 2005)

THE Philippines, host of ATF in 2007, has announced the event will be held at Clark at the request of president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Philippine tourism secretary, Mr Joseph Durano, said a task force would be mobilised to start preparations immediately after this ATF. “We have to assess the infrastructure and determine if we need to improve the existing expo hall.

“We will not disappoint and you can expect the Philippines to deliver,” he said.

Clark is located about 90km from Manila and the president recently inaugurated the international airport, which caters mainly to charters from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Access to Clark will also be improved when the Subic-Clark Expressway is ready by 2007 in time for ATF.

Meanwhile, Mr Durano has set about a 20 per cent increase in arrivals in 2005. The Philippines is expecting 2.4 million visitor arrivals for 2004 and is targeting 2.7 million visitors this year.

“We believe we can sustain growth by focusing on the key markets of the US, Japan, South Korea and Greater China.”

The cost-effectiveness of the Internet and the evolution of more sophisticated travellers, who can get instant updates, had helped the Philippines achieve the good results, he added. “Travel advisories are a fact of life. Therefore it is important for us to get the information out there.”

Mr Durano said there was sufficient air capacity, and the Philippines was working through the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to bring low-cost carriers to the Philippines.

The challenge facing the Philippines is meeting the demand for four- and five-star hotels, Mr Durano said. “Our immediate intervention is to encourage and incentivise operators of two- and three-star hotels to upgrade.”

The Philippines will continue to market the destination using the WOW Philippines icon and offer specific messages in each target market. Mr Durano said: “In South Korea, for example, the Philippines is popular with couples and families and the brand positioning will be family oriented.”

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