Tapping Europe as tourism market has immense potential for the Philippines to multiply its target tourist arrivals in the next decade.
With the world’s leading travel trade companies and organizations’ top decision makers, experts, buyers and young professionals to network, negotiate and do business attending the world’s biggest tourism fair – the Internationale Tourismus Borse, also known as ITB Berlin – the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) led the largest Filipino delegation to the four-day event on March 8 to 12.
“It’s a must-attend business-to-business event showcasing diverse destinations, trade products and services, as well as attractive packages of the different markets. ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for global touristic offers, where supply meets demands,” Department of Secretary Wanda Teo said.
Teo joined other officials of PDOT and its attached agencies, led by the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) in opening the elegantly designed 276-square meter booth at the colossal Messe Berlin.
Camarines Sur Governor Miguel Luis Villafuerte also joined, personally manning the Camsur Water Sports Complex’s booth to entice the ITB audience to come and experience the province’s natural and man-made wonders.
The PDOT has been a consistent participant of the ITB Berlin for three decades now. Teo noted that at least five of the 28 Philippine exhibitors this year are ITB first-timers.
A former travel and tour operator herself, Teo said that this is yet another indication of the positive perception on the significant and steady rise in the growth rate of the European arrivals to the Philippines.
“I am not at all surprised that the private sector would like to take advantage of the market that accounts for 10.55-percent of the total inbound traffic in 2016. The private sector has become more aggressive in tapping this market, indicating that our tourism stakeholders and movers recognize the great potential of attracting the European source market,” said Teo.
PDOT data showed that European m arkets posted top growth rates in tourism arrivals to the Philippines last year.
Spain posted a 32.94-percent growth rate accounting for 32,097 arrivals in 2016, from the recorded 24,144 visitors in 2015.
France, likewise saw a significant increase of 21.71-percent while Germany indicates a growth rate of 14.62-percent.
The United Kingdom remains the Philippines’ biggest source market in Europe with 173, 299 guests arriving from this country.
Philippine Tourism Attaché for Central and Eastern Europe Margarita Patricia Valdes said that Europeans are generally fascinated with the Philippines.
“The Philippines is especially attractive to the European markets because of its multi-destination, multi-product offerings that are unique from other Asian destinations, made even more fun with the warm and genuine spirit of the Filipino people,” Valdes said.