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Philippines shifts attentions away from China market
Rosa Ocampo, reporting from Asia Premium Travel Mart, Manila, May 26, 2015

THE Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is mulling reducing its marketing spend in China, a source market stagnated by its travel advisory against the Philippines, and channelling funds to other growth markets.


Domingo Ramon Enerio, COO of TPB, said that China eats up 16 per cent of the country’s annual marketing and promotions budget.


“We have lessened our exposure particularly in trade fairs, travel shows and consumer activities but we encourage the private sector to (continue),” he said.


Enerio remarked: "We are keeping our options open because it might be useless to spend in one market and there are other markets that have been showing high support.”


He cited Australia, South-east Asia, India, the Middle East, and Europe outside of Germany, France and the UK, as examples.


The TPB’s train of thought has found favour among other trade players. Eleanor O Ng, director of tourism services, Marsman Drysdale Travel, said: "China really slowed down for the last year or so. It stagnated unlike before when it would grow by 20 to 30 per cent every year; this year it's less than 20 per cent.


"It would be regrettable if we overlook the opportunity to tap newer markets, the ones that are at least not price-sensitive and can stay longer.”


One instance of a market with possibilities is Turkey, with Turkish Airlines having recently started direct Manila flights. Ng said she had received many inquiries for the country even before the service began. “It would be good if TPB puts a part of the budget there,” she commented.


Agreeing, Shan David, head of Corporate International Travel and Tours, said luxury source markets like Australia, Europe and Japan could benefit from more marketing dollars as they spend four times more than the average tourist. 

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