THE Argentinian government is looking at a long-term partnership with local tourism players in a bid to stimulate two-way traffic between the two countries.
Argentine Embassy Commercial Attaché Martin Soto said in a statement on Tuesday they are primarily looking at the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) to introduce Argentina to the Philippine market.
“Basically our job is to increase awareness about Argentina as a destination. We are an emerging destination. Here in the Philippines there is not much knowledge about our country,” Soto explained.
Soto the lack of direct flights between the two countries may be a reason why not many Filipino tourists have discovered Argentina.
“It takes 24 to 30 hours to travel from the Philippines to Argentina including one to three connecting flights. However, you only need to spend $150 a day to enjoy our country,” Soto disclosed.
He said that annually, only 500 Filipinos visit their country as tourists and that a large chunk of Filipinos that go are seafarers.
For her part, PTAA President Maria Michelle Reyes-Victoria said they see potential areas for cooperation with Argentina in tourism.
“Argentina is very much an untapped market for our member travel agencies. The Philippines has a growing middle-class that has the capacity to travel not just domestically but also abroad on multiple occasions every year,” she said.
Victoria explained that culturally there are a lot of similarities between Argentina and the Philippines and that travel agencies can possibly look at offering seven-day tour packages.
According to Victoria, Argentina cities like Buenos Aires, Mendoza, El Calafete, and Ushuaia are destinations worth visiting.
The PTAA would consult with airlines and the Philippine government to promote direct flights not only to Argentina but to several other South American countries as well, she said.
“We do not see the Philippine economy or the country’s tourism industry slowing down soon. At the same time we also want to attract to the Philippines other tourism markets and those coming from South America are a logical target,” Victoria said.
Meanwhile, Soto said the PTAA has the capacity to develop tourism between the two sides.
“They are one of the most important players in the Philippine tourism industry. They know the market and they can give us the opportunity to show off our country,” he admitted.
In a bid to work closely with the PTAA, Soto said they are now also seriously considering participation in the association’s annual Travel Tour Expo (TTE) in February next year.
The PTAA has more than 500 member companies operating nationwide including travel agencies, tour operators, domestic and international airlines, hotels, and resorts.
The association’s TTE is considered as the biggest annual tourism event in the country, bringing together all tourism stakeholders in the Philippines and several countries worldwide.