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Philippines-Thailand ‘Two-Country, One-Destination’ Tie-Up Eyed In June


Philippines-Thailand ‘Two-Country, One-Destination’ Tie-Up Eyed In June


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Thailand is hoping to sign within the year a tourism deal with the Philippines that would jumpstart the “two-country, one-destination” initiative, its top diplomat in the Philippines said Friday.

Under the concept, the two governments will ramp up promotions and encourage foreign tourists visiting either of the two states to have the Philippines or Thailand as their second stop.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Ambassadors’ Lecture Series, Thailand Ambassador Tull Traisorat said the document could be signed by June during the Philippine-Thailand tourism ministerial meeting or “even before if there’s a high-level visit”.

“The two-country, one-destination concept is reflected in the implementation part under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on tourism cooperation between Thailand and the Philippines,” he said.

“This one is the implementation agreement under that MOU. So, the two sides will work even more closely together,” he added.

Given the distance between the two neighbors, Traisorat also emphasized the need to work on establishing a direct flight between the two states’ popular destinations.


‘Phuket-Cebu direct flights’

Currently, the envoy said stakeholders are in talks for a possible direct flight between Cebu and Phuket.

“It’s in the making. I’ve talked with all relevant airlines already to promote this. It’s a key to promote tourism between our two countries,” he told reporters.

Once established, Traisorat said the Philippines could get a share of Thailand’s steadily growing number of foreign tourists.

In 2023 alone, Thailand received about 28 million international travelers, eight to 10 million visited Phuket via the more than 100 weekly direct flights from Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and China.

“If there’s direct flight between Phuket and Cebu, if the Philippines could tap at least 10 percent, it’s near one million already. So, a direct flight is key in promoting tourism and attracting more tourists,” Traisorat said.

“The key is attracting those from the outside— those who come to Thailand— to continue here in the Philippines, particularly those who love diving,” he added, citing the world-renowned diving destinations in the Philippines.

On top of arrivals, Traisorat also mentioned the growing presence of Thai brands in Philippine hospitality such as the Dusit Thani.

“They are planning to have one more in Iloilo and one more in Boracay,” he said.

“But this one, except the one in Manila, which is owned and managed by Dusit Thani, the rest is owned by a Filipino and managed by Dusit Thani. So, the owner has to negotiate the management agreement with Dusit Thani,” he added.

Apart from Dusit Thani, Traisorat said the Erawan Group, which operates the Hop Inn Hotels, is also expanding well.

These developments come as Thailand and the Philippines mark their 75 years of diplomatic relations on June 14.

Aside from tourism, cooperation between Manila and Bangkok continues to grow in trade, culture, education, and agriculture, among others. (PNA)