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DOT tapping emerging markets, eyeing 6 million tourist arrivals

To achieve its target of 6 million tourist arrivals in 2016, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is intensifying its promotion campaign in five emerging markets and attract more visitors to the Philippines for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).

“This is apart from the traditional MICE market like US, Japan, Korea,” Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. told reporters in a interview.

He tagged India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Russia as countries with increasing demand for MICE venues.

The tourism official said that DOT will increase its presence in these new markets especially as it launches its events-based Visit the Philippine, Again (VPA) 2016 campaign.

The sequel to DOT’s Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015, VPA aims to raise the number of foreign visitors by having them hold their major meetings here in the country.

DOT earlier attributed the more than 5 million foreign tourists, who visited the country last year to the success of the VPY.

Bengzon said the DOT is planning to deploy new tourism representatives in Moscow, Russia; New Delhi, India Jakarta, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh this year.

Aside from these emerging MICE markets, DOT is also expected to send new representatives to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, and Spain.

As a foundation of the MICE promotion campaign, Bengzon said they will offer their prospective clients incentives instead of subsidies to encourage them to hold their MICE in the country.

“What we do is that sponsor certain components. It could be a dinner or a cultural show. It could also be the giveaways,” Bengzon said.

“If we play the subsidy game, then we might play second fiddle (to other well-funded countries). So the better approach is to make it compelling by using the fun factor (of our events),” he added.

He added that they are also coordinating with other government agencies and private companies to raise the numbers of local MICE facilities.

“The good news is the MICE facilities are expanding. You see MICE facilities being developed not only here in Manila but more importantly in other destinations like Cebu and Davao,” Bengzon said.

“The demand (for these MICE venues) has been growing,” he added.