TPB: Japan’s higher aid rate bodes well for PHL tourism

THE Philippines should expect more tourists from Japan to arrive in the coming months with the latter’s booster vaccination rate no longer hindering their outbound travel.

In a Viber message from Japan, where he is attending the ongoing Tourism Expo Japan (TEJ), Tourism Promotions Council head Charles Aames M. Bautista told the BusinessMirror, “According to the latest data from the office of the Prime Minister of Japan, the September 22, the vaccine rate for two doses is 80.4 percent and for three doses (that is, two main doses and one booster) is 65.2 percent of the total population of Japan.”

He added, “There is a lot of interest from international and local B2B (business-to-business) buyers to visit the Philippines. Anecdotal information from shoppers suggests that Japanese travelers have more travel confidence now than in previous months. The Japanese government will also raise the cap on incoming tourists until next month.”

TPB is the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism and through TEJ, the government agency reintroduces the Philippines to Japanese travelers and tourism agencies. TPB also aims to maintain a Philippine presence and develop and renew business partnerships, not only with the Japanese market, but also with tourism stakeholders worldwide.

TEJ, which opened on September 22nd, will run until September 25th. It is the largest travel exhibition in Japan.

4th largest market

In a separate news statement, Bautista said: “Tourism Expo Japan opens an avenue for every national tourism organization to stimulate demand for overseas and domestic travel. The Philippines has so much to offer with our 7,641 islands. This is an opportunity to show that beyond our amazing beaches, we can showcase our adventure, culinary, wellness and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) offerings.”

Before the pandemic, in 2019, there were 682,788 tourists from Japan, with the country consistently ranking fourth overall, behind South Korea, China and the United States. From February 10, when the Philippines reopened its borders to vaccinated foreign tourists, to August 31, arrivals from Japan reached 46,406, making the market sixth on the overall list, behind the US, South Korea, Australia , Canada and the United Kingdom. Total arrivals for that period reached 1.37 million.

Last April, Japanese officials attending the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit in Manila said their country’s low booster vaccination rate prevented most of their citizens from traveling abroad. Only travelers who have been boosted can return to Japan without being quarantined. (See, “Japan’s Low Fax Recall Rate Discourages PHL Breaks,” in BusinessMirrorApril 23, 2022.)

Restart trip

The theme of this year’s exhibition is “Taking on the New Era: Restart” for the trade and “Hello New Journey” for the general public. With this, visitors to the Philippine pavilion will be treated to cultural, adventure and culinary offerings that cater to the new and diverse trends in tourism and travel. The Philippines will showcase its top tourist destinations such as Manila, Boracay, Cebu and Bohol among others.

Philippine private sector representation at TEJ includes representatives from Attic Tours Phils. Inc., Bai Hotel Cebu, Bohol Beach Club, Cebu Air Inc., Gladex Travel Services, Herald Suites Hotels, Hotel 101 Manila, Philippine Airlines, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Waterfront Hotels & Casinos.

TEJ has predicted 150,000 visitors to the trade fair, with 1,800 exhibitors from 154 countries and 47 prefectures present. The event has become an important branding exercise for national tourism offices in Asia, showcasing destination attractions and product offerings.

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