Kagawaran ng Turismo

Local News


Seoul, South Korea -- The Philippine tourism sector is confident it will retain Korea as no. 1 visitor market, as the country’s delegation to the Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA) in Seoul, showed high resolve to forge a stronger bond with Koreans.

In addition to the crowd-drawing stage presentations and exhibit set up by the Philippine Department of Tourism-Korea office and DOT-attached agency Tourism Promotions Board, tourism officials held “fact-finding” meetings with Korean travel executives and Seoul-based media, amidst security issues confronting international tourism.

(PDOT) Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, head of the Philippine delegation at Korea’s biggest annual international travel event, described as a “breakthrough in the meeting of minds” with major travel agents and airline executives.

“We look at Korea as a mutual partner in growth, in tourism and our Korean partners are convinced that the Philippines remains in fact a safe haven for foreigners,’ said Bengzon.

The Korean travel and tour, and airline executives, who met with Bengzon and DOT spokesperson Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre include: Kim, Seong Hoon, sales manager and Kang, Hyuk Shin, country manager, Philippine Airlines; Kang, Yoon Ho, senior manager Cebu Pacific; Yong, Sun-Ok, senior manager and Jeong, Chan Woo, assistant manager, Hana Tour; Kim Jeong Tae, Manager, Mode Tour; Um, Jong Hyun, CEO, Yoo Han Travel.

In behalf of tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, Alegre held interviews with Seoul-based news media, pointing out that the isolated incident of peace disturbance in the remote area of Marawi City was immediately placed under control, and should not in any way deter foreigners’ trips to the Philippines.

Alegre said the imposition of temporary martial law in the southern region of Mindanao merely enhances the security measures against any potential terror threat that has become a staple in modern day living in everywhere in the world.

The DOT official underscored the importance of disseminating factual information on the differing situations in the thousands of travel destinations in the Philippines and elsewhere.

“We are indeed elated by the strong interest in our tourist destinations amidst the challenges faced recently by our tourism industry, a major contributor to the country’s gross domestic,” said Alegre.

Among those who met with Alegre were Ji Won Kim, Arirang TV; Boeun Kim, Korea Times; Choe Hyun Yi, Korea Travel Times; Jepil So, KOTFA Daily; and Chung Sun Hwa, Ewha Communications.

Korean Ambassador Kim Young-sun, of the ASEAN-Korea Centre, shared PDOT officials’ optimism about continued travel of Koreans to the Philippines.

“Philippines is close to Koreans and we will continue to explore cooperation and tourism exchange,” said Young-sun, who has Manila at least four times.

South Korea remains the top tourist market for the Philippines, accounting for 24.72 percent of the 5.9 million total number of tourist arrivals in 2016. At least 305,052 Koreans have visited the country for the first two months of year alone, comprising 25.19 percent of the total foreign guests.

Koreans have consistently topped the list of big spenders, with receipts amounting to Php5.83 billion just for the month of February 2017, with the United States in second place, spending about Php2.65 billion.

Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul Hernandez joined Bengzon, who also addressed the International Tourism Forum in conjunction with KOTFA, declaring that the Philippines beckons to the world to come and experience the country’s diversely-rich tourist destinations.

The DOT official assured the dignitaries and entrepreneurs from across the globe that the Duterte administration has embarked on a massive tourism infrastructure program to boost tourism in small and medium-sized localities, which is the theme of the international tourism forum.

“We are promoting rural tourism, including ecological and farm tourism, to achieve self-sustaining and inclusive development,” added Bengzon.

He said world-famous Boracay island in Aklan province and Panglao, Bohol are among the success stories of small town development, while protecting their natural wonders.

At least 90 countries participated in four-day tourism fair chaired by Shin Jung Mok.

Among those who joined the Philippine delegation at KOTFA were DOT-Korea Office headed by OIC Liliosa Libosada and Marketing Officer Jake Velasco, and representatives of Philippine Airlines, Bayview Park Hotel Manila, Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila, Oakwood Premier Joy Nostalg Center Manila, Okada Manila, Azalea Hotels and Residences, World Citi Leisures, El Pinoy Dive & Leisure Resort, Bai Hotel Cebu, and Plantation Bay Resort & Spa.


DOT Usec. Benito Bengzon and Asec. Ricky Alegre meet with Korean travel & tour operators.


Ambassador Raul Hernandez joins Usec. Benito Bengzon and KOTFA dignitaries for a toast at the International Tourism Forum


Ambassador Raul Hernandez joins Usec. Benito Bengzon and KOTFA dignitaries for a toast at the International Tourism Forum.


KOTFA delegates crowd the Philippine exhibit set up by DOT Korea office headed by OIC Lily Libosada and TPB staff.

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