This initiative was riding on the growth of tourism to the country. As per statistics, in 2011, the Philippines attracted 55,829 tourists from the Middle East posting a growth rate of 14.60% from 2010 arrivals. The first quarter of 2012 continues to register positive growth at 12.24%. Key travel markets in the region are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Ramon R Jimenez, Jr revealed: “This is one of our efforts to tap the high-value Middle East market, considered one of the highest spending travellers in the world.”
The new campaign was launched alongside the newly opened Philippine Consulate office in Dubai.
The Philippines has been given more focus in the Middle East with the appointment of a new marketing representative last year. Gulf Arab tourists, specifically from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are among the world’s highest spending travelers abroad with daily average expenditure ranging between US$3,280 to US$4,100 according to a study entitled The Outbound GCC Travel Market – Unique Trends and Characteristics. Compared to other tourists, Gulf nationals spend 260% more on airfare and 430% more on accommodation.