Philippine domestic tourism takes off, backed by growing middle class

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Filipina beachGreater economic vitality in the Philippines has put more disposable income in the pockets of members of the middle class, who are increasingly discovering their own country in greater volumes. The number of domestic tourists has grown 21.4 per to 56 million this year from 44 million last year, according to Assistant Secretary of Tourism Arturo Boncato Jr.

The Philippines continues to be one of the best-performing economies in the region, and a survey of Bloomberg experts predict that only China will post a faster rate by the end of this year and the Philippines will probably surpass China’s growth by 2016. An immediate impact has been a steady rise in consumer confidence, with Filipinos now considered the “most optimistic” spenders in Asia.

According to market research firm Nielsen, the burgeoning Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, a rise in construction sector jobs and greater consumer spending has contributed to these high confidence levels.

Indeed, sales in fast-moving consumer goods rose 9.8 per cent in the first four months of the year, Nielsen Philippines managing director Stuart Jamieson said. And, on the same token, Filipinos have, after many decades of disenchantment, begun to feel more secure about the local job market.

Yet, poorly maintained infrastructure – or an all-together lack of it – across the archipelago continues to threaten growth, especially in Philippine domestic tourism. While foreign visitors rose 7.6 per cent the first half of 2015, and the country expects to hit a landmark 5.5 million arrivals, the Department of Tourism’s widely publicised “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign has faced criticism; local journalists and commentators wonder whether or not it is losing steam.

To maintain the momentum of the government’s tourism campaign, the private sector has stepped up, hoping to cash in on the rising tide of young and employed Filipinos and foreign tourists lured in by the “fun.”

Summit Media, through its hotel booking site TravelBook.ph, is running a contest titled “Juanderlust” to award a travel writer an 80-day assignment to discover the country and document his travels.

The company, helmed by Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, the daughter of the Philippines’ fifth richest man John Gokongwei, will be taking video submissions up until November.

Globe, the second largest telecom company, recently launched its own initiative to provide free SIM cards to tourists in hopes of capturing sales from increasing arrivals.

The free SIM card campaign will continue until December 31, 2015, and returning Filipinos (balikbayan) will also be eligible.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Greater economic vitality in the Philippines has put more disposable income in the pockets of members of the middle class, who are increasingly discovering their own country in greater volumes. The number of domestic tourists has grown 21.4 per to 56 million this year from 44 million last year, according to Assistant Secretary of Tourism Arturo Boncato Jr.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Filipina beachGreater economic vitality in the Philippines has put more disposable income in the pockets of members of the middle class, who are increasingly discovering their own country in greater volumes. The number of domestic tourists has grown 21.4 per to 56 million this year from 44 million last year, according to Assistant Secretary of Tourism Arturo Boncato Jr.

The Philippines continues to be one of the best-performing economies in the region, and a survey of Bloomberg experts predict that only China will post a faster rate by the end of this year and the Philippines will probably surpass China’s growth by 2016. An immediate impact has been a steady rise in consumer confidence, with Filipinos now considered the “most optimistic” spenders in Asia.

According to market research firm Nielsen, the burgeoning Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, a rise in construction sector jobs and greater consumer spending has contributed to these high confidence levels.

Indeed, sales in fast-moving consumer goods rose 9.8 per cent in the first four months of the year, Nielsen Philippines managing director Stuart Jamieson said. And, on the same token, Filipinos have, after many decades of disenchantment, begun to feel more secure about the local job market.

Yet, poorly maintained infrastructure – or an all-together lack of it – across the archipelago continues to threaten growth, especially in Philippine domestic tourism. While foreign visitors rose 7.6 per cent the first half of 2015, and the country expects to hit a landmark 5.5 million arrivals, the Department of Tourism’s widely publicised “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign has faced criticism; local journalists and commentators wonder whether or not it is losing steam.

To maintain the momentum of the government’s tourism campaign, the private sector has stepped up, hoping to cash in on the rising tide of young and employed Filipinos and foreign tourists lured in by the “fun.”

Summit Media, through its hotel booking site TravelBook.ph, is running a contest titled “Juanderlust” to award a travel writer an 80-day assignment to discover the country and document his travels.

The company, helmed by Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, the daughter of the Philippines’ fifth richest man John Gokongwei, will be taking video submissions up until November.

Globe, the second largest telecom company, recently launched its own initiative to provide free SIM cards to tourists in hopes of capturing sales from increasing arrivals.

The free SIM card campaign will continue until December 31, 2015, and returning Filipinos (balikbayan) will also be eligible.

 

 

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