This was the first major tourism promotion campaign ever launched in Vietnam, said Miriam V. Melgar, business unit director of DRAFTFCB Vietnam, which represents Philippine tourism in this market.
Melgar told travel agents at an introduction seminar in HCMC last Friday that the campaign had several components with the focus on advertising of the country in print publications and road show activities in Vietnam as well as visits for tour operators to experience the Philippines.
She said Manila and Cebu would be among the destinations advertised and pushed in Vietnam under the campaign’s theme “Beyond the Usual”, targeting both leisure and business travelers as well as students from Vietnam.
She pinned high hopes that the campaign would give a boost to travel between the Philippines and Vietnam. “Traffic should be increased two ways, not just from Vietnam but to Vietnam as well.”
Benito C. Bengzon, director of the Department’s Office of Tourism Coordination, told the seminar that Vietnam was an important source of tourist arrivals for the Philippines given the strong increase in the number of visitors to that country over the past years.
Bengzon said Vietnamese arrivals numbered only 13,675 out of the over 3.1 million international visitors to the Philippines in 2008 but had soared from the 6,475 in 2004.
He said the top five tourism markets of the Philippines were Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Australia, but stressed that Vietnam had been identified as a fast growing market of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc.
“Vietnamese arrivals in 2008 more than doubled the figure we had in 2004. If you look at the number, you will realize that there is still huge potential from this market,” Bengzon told the Daily during a break of the seminar.
“We strongly believe this number will grow even further through joint promotion efforts with key partners and by increasing direct flights between Vietnam and the Philippines,” Bengzon said.
The current daily flights between Vietnam and the Philippines are operated by the full-serviced carrier Philippine Airlines and the budget airline Cebu Pacific, with the first offering daily service between HCMC and Manila.
Bengzon said as the Philippines was an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, the country offered a diverse selection of products and services to international travelers, including those from Vietnam.
Bengzon said the launch of the campaign last Friday signified and supported efforts to get more Vietnamese travelers to the Philippines. “We will participate in major travel events in Vietnam so we can create better awareness of the Philippines.”