GLOBAL travel and leisure group The Travel Corp. (TravCorp) views the Philippines as an emerging tourism market in the Asia Pacific region and is looking to expand its offerings in the country through some of its key
“This market [Philippines] has a very big potential. First of all, this is a young market that is willing to travel.
Filipinos are now looking for something different. We think river cruise is a potential product in Asia and I think Philippines is the shining star in the future,” Henry Yu, Asia manager of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, said on Tuesday.
TravCorp.’s 6-star luxury river cruise line Uniworld will start to offer cruise travels within Asia and Europe to Filipinos this year together with Rajah Travel Corp., its general sales agent in the Philippines.
Yu said the current spending capacity in the Philippines and its young population makes it an enticing market for travel companies.
Uniworld entered the Asian market four years ago and considers Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan as their top markets.
Meanwhile, Insight Vacations, another brand of TravCorp, said the Philippine outbound market has become sophisticated and they now see more middle-aged Filipino professionals and their families travelling to more exotic destinations.
Insight Vacations-Asia President Evon Ler said the Philippines is now their second biggest market in Asia after Singapore with double-digit growth over the past several years.
Ler said that most of the Filipinos they have served have traveled to most known European destinations, with interest now shifting to places like Scandinavia, South America and the Baltic states.
Insight Vacations offers premium and luxury escorted tours, accommodation, and dining in popular tourism destinations worldwide.
Younger travelers in the country are also not to be left behind as Contiki Tours, also a part of the TravCorp group, has seen a rise in Filipinos aged 18 to 35 years old traveling to European destinations.
For his part, Contiki Travel Tours Corp. director of sales and marketing Sam Morrah said Filipinos travel and stay in Europe longer than other Asian counterparts.
“The younger crowd really prefers a lot of the blockbuster destinations like Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague. So it is those mainstream cities they still want to see,” Morrah said, adding that Iceland and the Balkan states have been gaining in popularity.
“The Philippines is what we would call an emerging market compared to some of the more established countries in Asia like Singapore and Japan. Korea is up there as well but [the]Philippines is slightly behind them and is achieving very quick growth,” he said.
Morrah said they are not worried about the emerging do-it-yourself trend in traveling among the younger generation since their brand offers very customized and personalized tours that self-made itineraries will not be able to match.
Meanwhile, Rajah Travel Corp. Chairperson Aileen Clemente said: “Everybody knows that we are a fast-growing economy and that companies come at a time when Filipinos are starting to travel and access level is getting better. We are good shoppers and we are good travelers. We are thrifty when it comes to appreciating culture and destinations,” Clemente said.
Clemente said Filipinos now understand the value of premium tour packages as compared to individual online bookings.