“As we face the next half of 2018, we look forward with excitement to hitting a new high in Japanese tourism arrivals by breaching the 600,000 mark,” said Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the recent Philippine Business Mission (PBM) to Japan.
Puyat said Japan produced a total of 584,180 visitors to the country last year and has remained the fourth top market with a 9.14 percent improvement from 2016’s arrivals of 535,238.
The Tourism chief led the 108-strong delegation composed of 39 private sector companies and government agencies from travel agencies, hotels and resorts as they met with their Japanese counterparts.
The other cities, Nagoya and Osaka, hosted the three-day business mission which incorporated tourism seminars on Philippine tourism, cuisine, English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) program, and air connectivity; travel mart for business to business discussion and networking, and a “Philippine experience zone” filled with interactive and experiential activities highlighting several of the country’s destinations.
“We would like to make the Philippines’ presence felt in the other prefectures of Japan. And this year, there is much to be thankful for including our stable growth momentum in Japanese tourist arrivals,” stressed Puyat.
For the first four months of the year, the Japanese market yielded a total of 230,199 travelers, reflecting a 9.04 percent growth rate, placing fourth once again in the country’s top source markets.
Sky Scanner, an online booking platform, reported that the country emerged number one in terms of having the highest number of Philippine flights searched during the one of the biggest holiday in Japan, growing by 107 percent.
Airlines such as Philippine Airlines and Jetstar were also set to expand and add flights from Manila and Clark to major cities in Japan. As of April 2018, more than 2.1 million air seats from eight airlines are available, servicing roundtrip flights from Manila, Clark and Cebu to major cities in Japan.
Modernization of regional airports are also expected to boost tourism and trade with increased international routes, including Japan. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport terminal 2 was recently inaugurated to be followed by the new Bohol International Airport to open in August 2018. The top two travel market in the region is Japan with more than 408,000 arrivals in 2017.
Under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) of 2016-2022, the DOT is targeting to increase visitor arrivals from Japan to 1.37 million in 2022 and 613,513 by the end of the year.
“We are reaching out to the ladies’ segment with the intensification of our Joshi Tabi program. Wit h our Kirei Ni Nareru sub-campai gn, we hope more Japanese women will discover why the Philippines makes us beautiful. We will take this opportunity to introduce health and wellness, shopping, and food and gastronomy tour products to the ladies segment,” added Puyat.
The DOT also tapped Japan’s Ms. Universe 2014 first runner-up Hiromi Nishiuchi and model Izumi “Loveli” Shirahama as Philippine Tourism Fun Ambassadors and to work on promotional campaigns including Coron, Palawan, and Bohol.
Tourism Promotions Board, the DOT’s marketing arm, is set to participate in trade and consumer fairs such as the Japan Association of Travel Agents Tourism Expo, the Hokkaido Overseas Travel Fair, the Sakai ASEAN Week, and the Okinawa Travel Fiesta.