Travel agencies eye Mideast market share | Inquirer News

Travel agencies eye Mideast market share

By: - Senior Reporter / @agarciayapCDN
/ 06:56 AM October 21, 2011

To tap more tourism markets especially in the Middle East, the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas) has tied up with the Department of Tourism and Eithad Airways to tour 11 Lebanese travel and tour operators in Cebu today.

Patria Aurora Roa, former Central Visayas tourism director, said yesterday that the trip of tour operators was aimed at getting more tourists from the Middle East region, who were known as big spenders.

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The itinerary of the trip includes a tour in Manila and Cebu, which was arranged by Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.

“They will be here from Oct. 21 to 22 checking out our major resorts and destinations which will be included in the packages that they will be offering to their clients,” Roa said.

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Angel Bognot, Naitas founder, said in a phone interview that the group had been trying to convince Etihad Airways management to include our country to the tour program packages the airline offers to its clients.

“We visited them and made presentations about our country, our destinations and why we think that the Arabs will like it here,” Bognot said.

She said that Etihad Airways had been doing tour program packages for Singapore, Malaysia and China which had since been enjoying a good number of tourists from the region.

“Arabs are big spenders. They can spend at least $100 in a day so we think that they are a good market to tap and Cebu has a lot to offer to them,” Roa said.

Bognot said according to figures from the Department of Tourism in Manila that since the Philippines was reintroduced to the Middle East market in 2009, there had been a noted increase in the number of Arabs visiting the country.

“It was noted that there was an increase of 22 percent last year, which means that there is a growing interest from this group. All we need then is an enabling mechanism like partnering with Etihad Airways that will make it more convenient for them to come to the Philippines,” Bognot said.

Bognot named some of the factors that Arabs like in our country – our beaches, hospitality, culture and excellence in the English language.

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“This trip is just an initial part of their (Etihad Airways) program wherein they invite travel and tour operators when they will partner with in offering tour packages,” said Bognot.

Roa said she was confident that Cebu would give a good impression to the tour operators and she would be expecting more tourists from the Middle East market to visit Cebu soon aside from other destinations in the country.

“At present Etihad Airways only have fourteen flights to Manila from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With more coming to the country soon including Cebu through our efforts we might expect them to increase frequencies and even add flights direct to Cebu,” Roa said.

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TAGS: Department of Tourism, Travel agencies
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