In one last push to bring the numbers closer to 2016 target, Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. unveiled last night the Department of Tourism’s new campaign for next year: Visit the Philippines Again 2016 (VPA2016).
“As you can see from the theme next year, Visit the Philippines Again 2016 is going to be the most massive retail-focused effort the Philippines has ever made. We will have more packages, more promotions, more offers than we have ever made before,” said Sec. Jimenez, describing VPA2016 as a retail-based campaign to drive urgency and excitement among foreign travelers to visit the country and return for more.
In the same manner that Malaysia extended its Visit Malaysia 2014 by rolling out Year of Festivals 2015, the new campaign of the DOT and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) will likely replicate the success of Visit the Philippines 2015. Other countries like Thailand and Vietnam have also adopted themes for the year as part of their tourism promotions.
Notable events in travel and tourism next year include the ASEAN Tourism Forum, Routes Asia, the second Madrid Fusion Manila, MTV Music Evolution 2016, and 2016 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship.
— Chicoy Enerio (@ChicoyEnerio) September 3, 2015
The government ended the last day of MICE Conference 2015 with another announcement: TPB membership program, reviving a similar program made by its predecessor, the Philippine Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Accredited enterprises can apply as regular members for free while companies and individuals that the DOT’s accreditation system doesn’t cover – like airlines – can apply as allied members for PHP10,000.
Benefits include invitation to TPB workshops, access to image bank, email invite in bidding opportunities to TPB transactions, and participation in overseas sales mission, trade fairs, and other marketing programs.
Regular and allied members can upgrade their status to premium members by paying extra. Premium members have additional benefits like inclusion in TPB-organized fam trips, trade referrals, access to market updates, invitation to TPB press events, and discount to training programs, among others.
The program aims to forge a closer relationship between the government and the trade, but it is also a form of incentive to encourage companies to go through DOT accreditation.
Yet despite the government’s intention to standardize quality through accreditation, it faces a tougher road ahead in enforcing the rule. The power of LGUs notwithstanding, new industries like the sharing economy, where Airbnb is a major accommodation player in the Philippines with more than 1,000 rooms, are not covered by existing rules and even taxes.
The break-out session by Dr. David L. Jones of the Singapore Institute of Technology talked about the effects of Airbnb in the MICE and hotel business. Curiously, Dr. Jones informally polled the audience at the end of his discussion whether they think the sharing economy is a friend or foe of the industry. Only a handful inside the crowded hall had sure answers.
On Day 2, Matthew Zatto of TripAdvisor and Paul John Pena of Marlboro Philippines talked about digital trends; Darren Chuckry of Uniplan held a session on creating an entertaining business event; and Tony D’Astolfo and Jeff Strachan of Phocuswright gave updates on the Middle East and European markets as well as global technology trends. Hugo Slimbrouck of Ovation Global DMC named the top 10 incentive travel trends worldwide.
Analyses and discussions about #MICECON2015 issues such as Airbnb, the rise of Asian millennial travelers, and new destination marketing strategies will appear in Hospitality News Philippines and Travel Update Philippines’ September issues and be exclusively available to subscribers.