PRRD`s Japan trip brought more tourists to PH

MANILA-- The latest surge in Japanese tourists to the Philippines can be attributed to the Department of Tourism`s (DOT) successful promotion, as well as the recent trip of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan, a DOT official said.

The latest data from the DOT revealed a surprising growth in the number of Japanese tourists to the Philippines, who ranked third in the country`s top tourist market with 78,699 in August 2019, indicating a 20.83 percent increase from the 65,130 visitors for the same period last year.

President Duterte visited Japan for the third time in May 2019 where he attended the 25th Nikkei International Conference on The Future of Asia and met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"I think that also added a lot of influence because he talked to the leaders of Japan`s travel and tourism industry. I think that`s a big help, it helped a lot and he`s going back," DOT Assistant Verna Buensuceso told reporters on the sidelines of the recent Hotel Sales and Marketing Association Virtus Awards at Conrad Hotel last Monday.

She also attributed the increase in the current trade war between Japan and South Korea, which reignited the tensions between the two nations over the latter`s colonization of South Korea in the early 1900s.

"I think it also has to do maybe with the situation with Korea," Buensuceso said.

But more than these factors, she said DOT will continue its efforts to attract more Japanese tourists through consumer activation activities.

"It`s a continuing effort for our part. It`s been ages since they`ve been number three. For August, we grew by 20 percent so it`s a good number for us," she said.

"We`ve done a lot of consumer activation activities, selling packages, and then doing a lot of awareness through bloggers and celebrity endorsers so that one creates a lot of awareness about the country," she added.

Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda earlier said the Philippines could tap his country`s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) market to further increase the arrivals of Japanese to the country.

MICE refers to a market in the tourism industry involved in booking and facilitating seminars or other events.

In 2016, the Philippine MICE placed 48th in 116 countries worldwide in 2016 in terms of having the most number of meetings. (PNA)