The Philippines continues to secure strong tourism ties with the Republic of Korea (R.O.K), with the inking of the Implementation Program on Tourism Cooperation between the two countries held today, November 25, 2019 at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Busan.
“For nine years now, Korea is undisputed in its position as the top source market of the Philippines. With this renewed pledge on tourism cooperation between the Philippines and Korea, we are hopeful we can sustain and intensify the already-strong ties with Korea that we enjoy,” underscored Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who signed the document on behalf of the Philippines.
On the other hand, The Republic of Korea was represented by Minister Park Yang Woo of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
The Implementation Program on Tourism Cooperation, valid from 2019 to 2024 or five years from date of signing, aims to introduce joint programs and activities that will bolster two-way tourism promotion and align tourism efforts between the Philippines and Korea, facilitate deeper and meaningful interactions between Filipinos and Koreans, and strengthen overall cooperation of the two countries on matters concerning tourist safety, security and quality assurance.
In 2018, the DOT recorded 1, 624, 251 arrivals from Korea, or a 22.78% share of the 7,127,678 total number of arrivals that year.
“Needless to say, South Korea is undisputed in its position as the top source market of the Philippines for nine consecutive years. To sustain the momentum, the DOT will embark on a more aggressive marketing campaign to continue capture a bigger chunk of the Korean market. The DOT Korea will be undertaking activities that will support the marketing efforts and collaborate with the travel trade on developing new thematic tour products for specific market segments. Also in the pipeline are product training programs for sub-agents in Busan and Daegu. On top of this, we will encourage more airlines to fly direct to international gateways other than Manila from key cities in Korea”, shared the tourism chief.
Meanwhile, according to the January and September 2019 report of the DOT, Korea remains the biggest source of visitors for the Philippines, reaching 1,450,792 arrivals, a 20.97% growth versus the same period last year. Korean tourists make up 23.55 percent of current arrival total.
Puyat attributed the encouraging figures to the improved air connectivity between the two markets noting the creation of 14 additional flights to the Philippines from Korea. These flights include new routes such as Daegu-Kalibu-Daegu, Incheon-Bohol-Incheon, and Muan-Clark-Muan.
“The positive growth only inspires us to constantly improve our work at the Department and to show more Koreans to come visit us and find out why It’s More Fun in the Philippines!” enthused Puyat.
Puyat noted that aside from Sun and Beach tourism, Koreans come to the Philippines mostly for Education Tourism portfolio or English as a Second Language (ESL).