Asian Bloc Works To Promote Regional Tourism

August 14, 2007 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 14 Aug) – To offer alternative options to the more prominent tourist destinations in Asia, such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, travel agencies and tour operators in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) will formally converge this year to develop and market innovative and competitive tour packages across the EAGA.

Focusing on Culture, Adventure and Nature (CAN), the establishment of the BIMP-EAGA Consortium of Tour Operators and Travel Agents is projected by the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council (BETC) as a strategic arm that will seek ways to maximize the region’s potentials as an alternative to mainstream tourist destinations in Asia.

This was one of the major results of the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Value Chain Seminar and the 4th BIMP-EAGA Joint Tourism Development Cluster Meeting held last month in Brunei Darussalam.

The consortium’s function in maximizing EAGA’s potentials as a tourist destination will be further explored on Wednesday’s roundtable discussion on BIMP-EAGA CAN in Davao City, as part of an effort to establish joint tourism marketing and promotions for Mindanao and Palawan.

Mary Ann Montemayor, chairperson of the Philippine side of the BIMP-EAGA Tourism Council (BETC), said the meeting will identify major CAN destinations in Mindanao and Palawan that will be the major focus of marketing and promotion in BIMP-EAGA with Davao City, Zamboanga City and Palawan province as gateways.

As the consortium will be officially launched during the 3rd BIMP-EAGA TRAVEX in November 2007 in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, BETC Chairs have now started tapping active travel tour operators and travel agents for membership.

For the Philippine side of the BETC, three tourism organization heads from the Davao Association of Tour Operators (DATO), Davao Tourism Association Agencies (DTAA), and the National Association Independence of Travel Agents (NAITAS), Davao, have already given their commitment to the consortium.

The DOT regional directors in Mindanao and Palawan, on the other hand, will identify their respective travel agents and tour operators for the consortium.

Montemayor said the identified consortium may be able to develop competitive tour packages on certain conditions.

First, commercial flights should be made available, as this will set the cost of the tour package. While travel agents can still develop tour packages without ready flights, the competitiveness will be in question, given the cost to be considered for connecting flights.

Second, should flights be available, acceptable arrangements would have to be undertaken by airline companies with tour operators and travel agents, particularly on promotional ticket rates.

And third is the presence of committed travel agents who could vigorously sell these tour packages in the market, should be secured. Once these conditions are met, the consortium will be able to develop competitive tour packages for BIMP-EAGA.

But with the threats of terrorism and kidnappings of foreigners and the constant travel warnings by Western and Asian embassies on their citizens in the troubled refion of Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago, tourists may be forced to skip the Philippines from their itinerary.

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