2012년 6월 13일 수요일

Yeosu Expo to yield 2-M Korean tourists for PHL

he Department of Tourism is eyeing 2 million Korean arrivals by 2016 as a result of its participation in the ongoing Yeosu Expo 2012 in South Korea which runs until Aug. 12. In joining Yeosu Expo, the DOT has partnered with flag carrier Cebu Pacific. The airline will provide expo organizers, talents and travel agents with tickets, tour package rates and exposure during the three-month expo. Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said as the country's top source of visitor traffic, the Korean market is of utmost importance to the Philippine hospitality industry. “Koreans accounted for nearly a quarter of the archipelago's tourism arrivals last year and they have been our number one market since 2006,” Jimenez said. Tourism data showed that 925,000 Koreans visited the Philippines in 2011, up 25 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, CEB flew more than 380,000 passengers to and from South Korea, a 51-percent increase compared to 2010. Jimenez said the Yeosu Expo has a marine sustainability theme, which is perfect for the Philippine islands’ inherent wealth in coastal and marine treasures. "We are investing in a principal site in the Pacific Ocean Zone to best capture over 80,000 average daily expo visitors,” Jimenez said. “Despite their relative affluence, Koreans appreciate value-for-money fares in their purchase of air tickets. Similarly, the proliferation of Korean operators and establishments is bringing down rates that appeal to even more travelers,” Jimenez said. CEB, for its part, highlights various Philippine destinations to the expo visitors, such as Busuanga (Coron), Cebu, Boracay, Bohol, San Jose (Apo Reef), Dumaguete (Apo Island), and Puerto Princesa (Tubbataha Reef). Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution, said CEB is excited to work closely with DOT and other government agencies in promoting the country's top tourist spots. She said CEB would also continue to offer the lowest fares from South Korea direct to Manila and Cebu so more Koreans can visit and explore the country. CEB operates thrice-daily flights from the Philippines to Seoul (Incheon) and eight weekly flights to Busan. Seat sales as low as 50-percent off, with lowest year-round air fares as low as 99,000 Korean won (P3,999). The Philippine exhibit carries the theme “Islands of Diversity, Seas of Connectivity” to entice tropical holiday seekers, honeymooners and other special interest groups such as divers and beach enthusiasts, which make up a majority of Korean tourists. —VS, GMA News

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