September 1, 2005 
(STAR) By Honey Jarque Loop The Freeman - The Department of Tourism's (DOT) enduring efforts to bring warm bodies to the Philippines has once again paid off as official figures from the DOT Statistics Division of visitor arrivals for June and July have shown a noteworthy increase.

Top priority markets such as the United States, Korea and Japan provided great results as projected. The United States tourist numbers improved by 49,929 or 16.0% growth rate. Korean tourist arrivals, on the other hand, got bigger by 27.8%, registering 37,510 this year. Japan's statistics also grew by 8.9 % with 30,467 visitors.

Moreover, China has been consistently recording exceptional upsurge after garnering a huge growth rate of 211.2% for May 2005 and a whopping 433.05% improvement for mid-June of this year from the same period last year.

Much encouraged by these figures, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano has further intensified the campaign for Philippine Tourism.

Durano explained, "Most of our marketing promotions are concentrated on these markets and the DOT has already laid out and continuously executed market-specific sub-campaigns to expand our operations in these areas. We are optimistic that these statistics will still escalate in the coming months". "The DOT has already organized marketing plans for the rest of the year. We will continue to carry out this campaign and inject new and innovative approaches to make our marketing strategies even more effective. We are hoping that we can sustain this so that we would be able to reach our targets for 2005", ended Secretary Durano.

In order to maintain this upsurge, the China marketing team of the Department of Tourism (DOT) headed by Tourism Assistant Secretary Eduardo Jarque Jr. and members Director Rolando Caņizal, Rene Reyes, Mila Say and Gigi Liwanag has pushed for priority policy support in the country. In a bid to get a share of the growing tourist traffic in China, the Department of Tourism recently joined the inaugural China International Business and Incentive Travel Mart (CBITM) held at Beijing's China World Trade Center.

The event played host to over 172 exhibitors from 25 countries worldwide that showcased major global players like BTI, Emirates, National Tourism Authorities from Malaysia, Belgium, France, Qatar, the International hotel groups such as Accor, Ascot, Carlson, Conrad, La Meridien, Marriott as well as major local tour operators and travel agencies and hotel chains like Beijing Travel Group, China Travel International, China Travel Service and many more.

CBITM also provided a forum for international business, networking with colleagues and professional developments through a series of workshops and dialogue with visiting worldwide industry leaders. Eloquent speakers like Ms. Elizabeth Rich from Australia, Mr. David Radcliffe from BTI UK and other seasoned speakers shared their experience and knowledge in the various conference tracks. Among the highlights at the event were the Hosted Buyers cum VIP program and the educational platforms. More than 5oo VIP's, qualified Hosted buyers and industry professionals from major MNC's and local enterprises participated in the three day exhibition, dedicated conferences and workshops program alongside their European counterparts.

Having witnessed the great potential, top buyers gave their support and recognition that CBITM was a unique opportunity to discover China's huge and still relatively unknown travel market, and also as a great chance to get to know potential future suppliers, all gathered under the same roof.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved