A milestone year for the Tourism Promotions Board

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, the marketing and promotions arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT), has had a banner year in its intensified efforts to retain the Philippines as a major destination for global travelers.

This 2019, the country registered a total of 6,800,052 visitors from January to October, marking a 15% growth in tourist arrivals from the same period last year.

TPB’s various operating units — International Promotions, Domestic Promotions, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions/Events) and Marketing Communications, continued their aggressive push to promote top destinations like Boracay, Palawan, Bohol and Siargao through on-ground activities, global media exposure and increased digital presence. New programs, on the other hand, were adopted to develop upcoming destinations in Pampanga, Southern Cebu, Samar, Aklan and BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao).

Key international promotional activities included participation in top travel trade events such as the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, ITB Berlin, ASEAN Tourism Forum and Korea Travel Fair; dive expos like Malaysia International Dive Expo, Asia Dive Expo in Singapore and Beijing, and OZTEK Dive Conference and Exhibition in Australia.

Year-round familiarization tours and business missions were organized to strengthen key markets like Korea, China and Japan, and to tap high-spend markets like Europe, United Arab Emirates and India.

TPB also strengthened the country’s presence in the MICE space, surpassing its targets in generating leads through participation in key global MICE trade shows, like the IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America, International Travel and Conventions Meetings in China and International Travel and Conventions Meetings Asia in Thailand. Moreover, the agency assisted in the country’s successful bids to host the Asian Federation of Exhibition and Convention Annual General Meeting, International Congress of the Fragile Eco-systems and Eco Tourism Travel Mart in 2020 and 2021.

Meanwhile, domestic tourism was stimulated by organizing and participating in major travel fairs such as the Philippine Travel Mart, NAITAS Travel and Trade Show, Philippine Harvest Expos and Regional Travel Fairs in Clark, Pampanga and Cagayan de Oro City.

TPB adopted a marketing approach focusing on psychographics or motivation for people to travel while demographics that focus on nationality, age, income and propensity to travel. Thus in 2019, TPB’s marketing and promotions centered on “people’s interest.”

“Our marketing approach for 2019 focused on ‘people interest’, shifting from hard sell to soft power marketing,” said TPB Chief Operating Officer Marie Venus Q. Tan. “The Philippines is rich in distinct assets like culture, gastronomy and, more importantly, the Filipino people who make each visit to the country unique, memorable and worth coming back for.”

All strategic programs for 2019 were anchored on the theme of responsible and sustainable tourism— “a balance between business opportunities and our social responsibilities”— spearheaded by DOT.

TPB conducted Marketing Educational Seminars across the country to provide regional tourism officers, officials from local government units and private sector tourism representatives, the necessary guidance and active mentoring on the proper marketing of the tourism attractions of a particular region or province. It also put in place programs to identify, preserve and promote sustainable tourism sites and supported industries offering sustainable tourism products through inclusion in marketing and promotional activities.

Moreover, TPB successfully maintained its ISO 9001:2015 certification through its redoubled effort to improve continuously its management systems. It made remarkable improvements in its existing processes for design, development and provision of Philippine tourism marketing and promotions.