Travel agencies organizing packaged tours to the Philippines for the European market have been told to look for other suitable destinations in the country since the closure of Boracay Island, European Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ECCP) President Guenter Taus said.
Taus told reporters that the business group has encouraged tour organizers to shift from mainstream tourism — going to top white sand beaches in the country — to outdoor activities and green tourism for European tourists who would like to visit the Philippines. “We focus on environment. We look at biking, hiking, outdoor activities,” said Taus.
“I think European tourists are actually very picky in what they want to do. And the mainstream tourism is long gone, so let’s do something different. Let’s do something we never experienced before,” he added.
Taus mentioned that he was in Europe for a tourism mission when Boracay was shut down. “It is a very tough sell because of the closure of Boracay. It was very untimely,” the ECCP chief said.
He added that because of Boracay’s temporary closure, European tourists are exploring other destinations in Southeast Asia — Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malayisa.
According to European Union Delegation Head of Economic and Trade Section Walter van Hattum, more than 550,000 European tourists visited the Philippines in 2017, half of whom were upscale tourists who mostly stayed in Boracay.
Taus mentioned that a European tourist staying in the country for up to 14 days spends USD2,000 or more than PHP100,000. “I’m sure it will bounce back the moment we shift gear and look at other opportunities as well,” he said. (PNA)
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