For the first time in history, tourism arrivals to Philippines from the United Kingdom reached 104,466 in 2011, 7.78% higher than the registered visitors of 96,925 in 2010. Arrivals from the United Kingdom contributed to a record-breaking 3.917 million foreign visitors to the Philippines in 2011.
In the face of the economic downturn experienced across Europe, the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) London tirelessly implements innovative promotional projects and marketing campaigns to drive tourists to the country.
In 2011, PDOT London assisted and organized no less than three dozen individual familiarization, press and filming trips for TV personalities, journalists and photographers. The results speak for itself. TV celebrities like Carol McGiffin of Loose Women, Camilla Andersen of Travel Channel and Professor Brian Cox experienced the numerous attractions of the country and raved about it online, on magazines, and on their respective shows with entire episodes devoted to the Philippines.
PDOT London also embarked on multi-platform advertising campaigns to raise awareness for the destination in the UK: the most prominent are the 50 London taxi cabs and four Route-master buses carrying the Philippines tourism banner. Numerous competitions were also run on TV and broadsheets like the ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’ aired over Travel Channel, with 300 30-second spots for a month.
The office also focused on strengthening its core activity markets. Diving publicity for the Philippines was at an all-time high with the destination almost a constant feature on Dive, Diver and Sport Diver magazines every month. Almost all UK diving operators that specialise in Asia report that the Philippines is in their top five selling destinations.
Another integral part of PDOT London’s projects is its internet marketing strategy, with its social media accounts generating massive interest. Members of the Tourism Philippines UK Facebook Fan Page exceeded 7,500 last year and video views on Youtube totalled 200,000. The highly-successful website, tourismphilippines.co.uk generated 286,120 page views last year and each month, the e-newsletter reaches 12,000 consumers, travel trade and media subscribers.
PDOT London fostered stronger relationships with the travel trade by implementing more joint-promotional activities in 2011 than in recent years. The office conducted staff training for Audley Travel, Black Tomato, Kenwood Travel, Kuoni and Luxury Holidays. Further sales calls and meetings were also held with over two dozen operators throughout the year at trade events like the PATA Exchange and Taste of PATA. Many operators were also invited to the country for special events such as the Philippine Travel Exchange and Dive Seafari, resulting in the inclusion of the destination in their brochures.
Trade and consumer shows proved very effective for PDOT London with the country garnering massive exposure. The Philippines is usually nominated as the destination of choice by attendees at various events like the London Dive Show, Dive Birmingham, Destinations Holiday and Travel Show and the World Travel Market, to name a few. At these shows, huge quantities of promotional DVDs, destination flyers, maps and brochures, all produced by the office, are distributed.
This sustained drive of PDOT London to implement the most effective marketing program, especially with the new tourism brand campaign — “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” will hopefully see tourism arrivals in 2012 even higher.