Mumbai: The Philippines, a tropical South Asian country, is targeting a 43 per cent growth in Indian tourist arrivals at over 66,000 this year, and to achieve this, the country has began an aggressive marketing campaign, a top government official has said.
"In 2012, the Indian arrivals stood at 46,000. This year we are hoping to increase it to 66,000 tourists. To achieve this goal we have already rolled out a aggressive campaign to promote our country as an attractive holiday destination," the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary, International Tourism Promotion, Benito C Bengzon said here.
India is one of the top 15 markets, he said, adding, there is a lot of potential to enhance this position.
The Philippines has positioned itself as a fun filled mid- market segment.
"We want to place ourselves as a fun destination suitable for all age groups along with for business, meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (MICE) and Bollywood tourism," Bengzon said.
He, however, said connectivity between the two countries is a major hurdle in this regard.
"At present, there are only three flights weekly that connects New Delhi and Manila via Bangkok. We are talking with several foreign air carriers to connect the Philippines with India, including with other major cities in the sub-continent," he said.
DOT will also planning to leverage Routes Asia`s networking platform to expand air connectivity between India and various destinations in the Philippines, he said.
The Philippines is hopeful of doubling the air connectivity soon, Bengzon added.
Good air connectivity and easy entry procedures are very essential for the progressive development of tourism industry, he said.
The Philippines is also mulling over introducing visa on arrival facility to increase tourist arrivals, he said.
India had recently proposed the extension of the visa-on- arrival facility to 16 countries, including the Philippines, will further lead to increased travel figures between the countries, he said.
"The introduction of visa on arrival in the Philippines is under discussion, we hope it will be soon," he added.