‘RP most popular destination in Asia’

THE Philippines has been named the most popular destination in Asia at this year’s World Travel Fair (WTF) in Shanghai, China. After a public vote and an evaluation process by professional jurors from the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration and VNU Exhibitions Europe, the Philippines received the highest citation conferred during the WTF, the outbound travel industry’s leading source fair in Asia.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano attributed the win to the country’s competitive tour pricing, the remarkable progress of the transportation sector, and the Filipino’s friendliness and hospitality to visitors.

“The Philippines is one of the fastest growing destinations in China’s outbound travel industry, recording a 74-percent month-on-month growth rate in visa issuances for February of this year. We are also the nearest tropical beach country for the Chinese, as Manila is only 2 hours away from Guangzhou, while Cebu is only 3 hours away from Shanghai,” he said in a statement.

The WTF receives thousands of travel buyers worldwide, who come to hold exchanges with more than 500 exhibitors in 62 countries. This year, the fair was held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.

“The Chinese travelers rank our country’s beaches and heritage sites high, as proven by the various recognitions they have awarded to our tourist spots,” Durano said.

For his part, Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque Jr. said the country has always gathered positive feedback from Asian tourists.

“The Philippines has managed to secure, among others, the Best Leisure Destination in the last year’s WTF for Boracay, the Top 10 Island Getaways for Chinese Summer Travel for Bohol, and the only Asian entry in the list of premier destinations in the acclaimed World Traveller Magazine,” he said.

Jarque added that the Philippines belonged to the top 10 most searched destinations of Shanghai online users in Baidu, the biggest search engine in China.

The Philippines posted a 58.5-percent growth last year in terms of visa issuances for travel to the Philippines from Eastern China plus Sichuan and Chongqing.

For the first three months of 2009, the country’s growth rate stood at 20 percent, making the Philippines one of the fastest-growing outbound destinations for Chinese tourists.

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