PH eyes more Indian tourists

Making the Philippines more fun for travelers from India will help boost tourism, the government said, as it highlighted the fellow Asian country as a growing source of international flyers.

India is forecast to generate 50 million outbound travels by 2020, the Tourism department said in a statement, noting that tapping this market will help the Philippines reach its goal of 10 million arrivals by 2016.

"[W]e need to rethink our strategies and meet new standards of performance in order to grow our existing markets, as well as develop new ones," Tourism Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said in the statement.

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This, as he noted, that India's "newfound prosperity and growing affluence will lend its population an increased disposable income for leisure and travel-related pursuits."

Indian travelers, he added, may contribute significantly to the local tourism income as they are "big spenders whose average length of stay lasts more than one week."

The Philippines should therefore position itself as a "choice destination" to capture a larger slice of India's tourist pie, Bengzon said.

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He also hinted at needed improvements in airports and immigration rules, noting that Indian travelers "mostly prefer destinations with good air connectivity and easy entry procedures."

To learn more about the Indian market, the Tourism department is also eyeing expanded air connectivity between India and various destinations in the Philippines.

The Philippines is set to participate in an aviation fair dubbed Routes Asia Mumbai, which Bengzon said is "specifically organized for the development of new air links within the Asian region."

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Filipino and Indian tour enterprises also recently held business matchings during the Philippine India Travel Exchange in Manila.

A total of 24 Indian tour operators, wholesalers, travel agencies and around fifty 50 of their Filipino counterparts engaged in table top discussions on how to bolster Indian travel to the Philippines.


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