The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDoT) is refreshing its 'It's More Fun in the Philippines' campaign to focus on destination-specific advertising to help create name awareness in the travel trade on different destinations.

As part of its marketing campaign, the tourist office is also aggressively pursuing agents to offer fam trips and to take part in training to equip them with the knowledge needed to sell the destination, and says that it has become more collaborative in terms of increasing its participation in training events, roadshows and workshops.

Ramon R Jimenez, Jr, secretary for the PDoT, said: "It makes a very big difference if you've been to a destination in your ability to sell it, and the Philippines must be experienced to be explained. So we are encouraging travel agents to get in touch to find out more about the fam opportunities and training on offer."

Meanwhile, a number of new hotel developments are being rolled out in the destination in the next few years including the opening of a Conrad Hotel and a Grand Hyatt property next year. The destination hopes to attract five million visitors by the end of this year and is currently 12% up on visitors figures compared to last year.

Jimenez said: "Current statistics stand at 3.2million visitors this year so we are optimistic about reaching our five million visitor target. Our growth in terms of revenue is already up by 18% on last year which is very encouraging.

"We have seen greater demand from younger people and gap year students looking to experience the destination, as well as an increase in multi-dimensional experiences. In the past, people would travel for a specific reason but, increasingly, we are finding that people want to take both a city break and a beach holiday.

ÔÇťAnother emerging trend is that people are keen to try a range of activities and hoteliers are picking up on this trend. For example, Shangri-La is offering customers the opportunity to learn basket weaving. It's these experiences, coupled with the friendliness and the fun-loving nature of the locals that makes the destination a great place to recommend."
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Meanwhile, Monday marked the first direct link between the UK and the Philippines from Philippine Airlines (PAL). Heathrow is the carrier's first European destination since flights to Europe were discontinued in 1998.
The airline now flies direct between Heathrow and Manila five times weekly, providing the fastest travel to Manila (average 12.5 hours), as well as top Philippine tourist spots and other destinations in Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

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