Philippines is turning out to be the preferred destination for Qataris as there is an increase of 15-20% Qatari tourists this year. The Department of Tourism has set a target of seven to eight million visitors for 2017.
“For this year, we are targeting a low of seven million and a high of eight million foreign visitors across all markets. From Qatar, since it is regarded as an opportunity market, we hope that we can grow between 15 to 20 percent,” Philippine Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr. told this daily recently.
Speaking on Qatari tourists, he said: “In 2016, we had about 5,000 Qatari visitors to the country. They go to the Philippines basically for shopping, look for unique beach holiday experience, and there’s a certain segment that is also into medical tourism.”
He noted that the revenues of Qatari tourists were much higher and that is where they become more important. “Qatari tourists generally spend two to three times as much as the average tourist to the Philippines, so even if you’re talking 5,000 Qatari visitors just for now, when you look at the revenue that we get, it is quite substantial,” he said.
Since the Qataris create more revenues, tourism department is doing everything possible to attract the tourists from Qatar. “The strategy is basically to create a higher level of awareness among Qataris and to impress upon them that the Philippines is the next big holiday destination in Asia.” Bengzon said.
On Halal tourism, he said “It’s a continuous effort and the good news is that there are more five-star hotels now in Metro Manila that are Halal-friendly. We have a few hotels in the Bay area and in Makati and a few restaurants that are also able to offer Halal food. We have an increasing number of Halal-friendly establishments even outside Manila like in Cebu and Boracay.”
Philippines has also seen an increase in the overall foreign visitors, there was an increase of 10.5% compared to 2015. “Last year, we generated about six million foreign visitors and that represents a growth rate of about 10.5 percent, which is higher than the global average of about 4.5 percent and even higher than the Asian average of about 6.5 percent. It clearly shows that tourism in the Philippines is growing at a faster rate,” he said.