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Philippine Airlines (PAL) Axes India Route
Rosa Ocampo and Marianne Carandang, Meeting & Incentive Forums Asia, Manila, June 3, 2013
PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) will cancel its thrice-weekly Manila-Delhi service via Bangkok on June 15, but travel consultants do not expect any negative impact on the growing traffic between the two countries.
A PAL source who sought anonymity confirmed the “indefinite suspension” of the flight. While the Manila-Bangkok leg of the flight will be retained, the Bangkok-New Delhi leg would be dropped for commercial reasons.
Meanwhile, an India-based travel consultant confirmed that PAL will close its Delhi office next month. “(PAL) is not making money on the (Manila-Bangkok-Delhi) services. New flights should be marketed but PAL wasn’t doing enough of that.”
Glen Augustin, Team India head, market development group, Department of Tourism (DoT), said the cancellation would affect the NTO’s plans to facilitate a 300-pax Outbound Tour Operators Association of India convention in Manila this September.
However, Philippine travel consultants were less negative. “I don’t think (the consequences of cancelling Delhi flights) will really be negative. For one thing, PAL’s rates are high. The market is price-driven yet the airfare is high,” pointed out Kristine Shroff, marketing director, Shroff International Travel Care.
Travel consultants said airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific would likely fill the vacuum left by PAL as they already offer better connections on the route. Cebu Pacific in March applied with the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board to be recognised as the official carrier to India.
However, DoT’s marketing office in India noted that other carriers operating India-Philippine routes had raised prices after news of PAL’s move broke.
Shroff said tourist traffic between India and the Philippines had been “good” during the last three years due to greater awareness in India about the Philippines through DoT’s promotional efforts.
“The market is ready and matured enough to consider the Philippines,” she added.
DoT statistics show that arrivals from India grew 22 per cent in 1Q2013 to 13,510, from 11,065 during the same period in 2012.
Philippine posts strong Q1 arrivals
Manila, May 6, 2013
THE Department of Tourism (DoT) says it is on track to meet its 5.5 million arrivals target for 2013 based on the 1.3 million foreign tourists it witnessed during the first quarter, which marks a significant 10.8 per cent year-on-year leap.
South Korea remains the top source market, with arrivals rising 23.9 per cent year-on-year to 328,454 visitors. This puts it at 25.8 per cent of total arrivals.
The US takes second place with 186,065 arrivals or 14.6 per cent of total visitor volume, Japan with 114,269 arrivals or nine per cent, while China and Taiwan round up the top five markets with 98,242 and 53,867 visitors respectively.
Meanwhile, other source markets registering double-digit growth were Russia (26.9 per cent), Hong Kong (25 per cent), India (22.1 per cent), Singapore (15.4 per cent), Australia (12.7 per cent) and Malaysia (11.9 per cent).
By region, South-east Asia grew 14.8 per cent and East Asia, 14.2 per cent.
For March alone, the Philippines posted a double-digit increase of 11.3 per cent year-on-year with 417,392 visitors, the fourth consecutive month since December 2012 that visitor numbers surpassed the 400,000 mark after a record-breaking January and February (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 28, 2013).
Tourism secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr pointed out that the expansion and development of secondary gateways would open the country to more visitors, while investments in the air transportation and accommodation sector would increase the country’s capacity for visitors in the years to come.
He said: “With key policy reforms such as the lifting of significant security concerns by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the rationalisation of the Common Carriers Tax, the focus is shifted to the tangible areas such as connectivity and improvement of tourism products.”
Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI) Cancelation of Flights: Manila – Taytay, Palawan
Please be informed that due to technical difficulties Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI) will be cancelling the Manila- Taytay – Manila flights indefinitely. On this note, passengers of ITI with bookings for El Nido Resorts Apulit Island will be serviced through the Manila – El Nido – Manila flights on the following schedules:
MNL - El Nido 0730H and 1130H
El Nido - MNL 1300H and 1700H
Following the flight via El Nido, guests will be provided with a van transfer to Taytay Town port which will take about an hour and a half travel time.
From Taytay port, followed by a boat ride to Apulit Island. Same route will apply for guests leaving Apulit Island and flying to Manila via El Nido.
Further updates will be advised as soon as we hear from El Nido Resorts.
PAL spreads wings to Middle East
Manila, April 29, 2013
PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) has confirmed flights to more points in the Middle East as part of an expansion to 12 cities worldwide, including previously announced routes to Australia, China and Malaysia.
The new destinations include Kuala Lumpur on May 2, Darwin, Brisbane and Perth on June 1; Guangzhou on June 2; Abu Dhabi on October 1; Doha on November 1; Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in Saudi Arabia on December 1; Dubai on November 1; and Basco in the Philippines’ Batanes province on May 1 – with the latter two operated by PAL Express.
The route expansion of the Philippine flag carrier, particularly in the Middle East, will open strategic gateways and allow greater connectivity to more destinations in the region through PAL’s interline partners, said PAL president, Ramon S Ang.
“From UAE, for example, overseas Filipino workers can easily connect to other key cities or countries through PAL’s airline partners in the Gulf,” he stressed.
PAL’s aggressive expansion is also driven by the Philippines’ robust economy, recent credit rating upgrade, diverse tourist destinations and the country’s geographical advantage as a jump-off point to many Asian cities, according to Ang.
In November last year, PAL’s new management began the network expansion with the launch of direct flights from Manila to Toronto (TTG Asia e-Daily, October 24, 2012).
Including PAL Express, PAL currently serves 32 domestic and 28 international cities.
CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES (CAAP) | Office of the Director General
It's Official: ICAO Lifts Significant Safety Concerns on the Philippines
The Philippines' high economic growth under the Aquino administration got an added boost after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of the United Nations officially lifted the significant safety concerns it had earlier cited as requiring urgent solutions from the government. The ICAO cited the Philippines' "active commitment" and "positive response" in international efforts to upgrade standards in aviation safety.
William K. Hotchkiss III, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), has formally relayed to Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya of the DOTC the issuance last Friday, March 1, of an official communication from the ICAO based in Montreal, Canada that "the corrective actions taken by the Philippines have successfully addressed and resolved the SSCs identified by ICAO."
"Our economic planners like the NEDA, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Tourism have been awaiting this positive development in civil aviation inasmuch as it opens up to international access the Philippines' destinations and havens for industries and investments," added Hotchkiss.
The ICAO, speaking through Mohamed Elamiri, Deputy Director for safety management and monitoring, cited CAAP for "the active commitment by the Philippines towards resolving the deficiencies identified through the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme."
The ICAO sent an audit team to the Philippines last month in order to conduct a validation mission of the corrective actions undertaken by CAAP that had been identified by the UN specialized agency as necessary in securing the nod of approval of the international aviation community. In the exit briefing conducted last February 22, the head of the audit team Henry Gourdji assured CAAP of its recommendation that the significant safety concerns be lifted.
"We hope that this formal lifting of the SSC's will finally put to rest the lingering doubts of those who may have been misled by false reports that CAAP has embarrassed President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Philippine government by failing the ICAO audit anew," said Hotchkiss.
"We are very thankful for the complete support and supervision of President Aquino, current DOTC Secretary Abaya, and former DOTC Secretary Roxas in this very difficult process being undertaken by CAAP," said Hotchkiss.
Hotchkiss and his team have been in office for eight months after the President appointed them during the term of former DOTC Secretary Roxas who pointed out the immediate need of lifting the safety concerns.
ITB Berlin 2013 was by far the world's largest meeting place of international tourism policy decision-makers and business leaders. The German chancellorAngela Merkel, the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, representatives of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), as well as more than 100 ministers of tourism and state secretaries, met in Berlin to help shape the future for growth in the tourism industry.
Dr. Christian Göke, COO Messe Berlin: "Once again, ITB Berlin has kicked off the travel season around the globe. No other place in the world gathers so many leading representatives from the private and public sector. This is where the tone is set for the future of travel for a billion people. The increase in international buyers is proof that ITB Berlin continues to be the most important marketplace for the global travel industry."
From 6 to 10 March 2013, 10,086 exhibitors from 188 countries presented their products and services in display halls that were fully booked up. Overall, some 110,000 trade visitors came to Berlin, of whom 43 per cent were from abroad. This year there was a slight increase in buyers from the USA and the Middle East. Exhibitors reported holding quality talks and sealing more business deals.
The ITB Berlin Convention registered record levels of attendance. A total of 21,000 took part in the 200 lectures, discussions and workshops, 25 percent more than in 2012. Social Media and Mobile Travel Services proved to be major visitor attractions. The matchmaking event for bloggers involving exhibitors met with an extremely positive response.
Visitors thronged the halls on the Saturday of the show. More than 60,000 members of the general public came to find out about the wide-ranging information on offer from exhibitors and providers of niche market products. For the first time, visitors at the weekend were able to book their tours directly at ITB Berlin. A poll among visitors revealed that one in three intended to book a trip.
Philippines scores record growth for January-February
Manila, March 28, 2013
THE Philippines secured a record number of arrivals for the first two months of the year, posting 854,187 visitors in January and February 2013.
This is a 10.5 per cent year-on-year increase over the 772,989 arrivals in 2012, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).
South Korea was the top contributor for January and February with 241,116 visitor or slightly over one quarter of total inbound traffic, also exhibiting growth of 25.6 per cent. Next came the US with 120,868 arrivals or 14.2 per cent of visitors, and Japan with 73,621.
Markets that displayed double-digit growth over this period were India (25 per cent), Russia (24 per cent), Malaysia (23 per cent), Hong Kong (19 per cent), Singapore (14.5 per cent) and Australia (11.4 per cent).
Regionally, visitors from South-east Asia grew 18.5 per cent and East Asia 14.6 per cent.
For February alone, arrivals leapt 15.5 per cent to 418,108, the first time February has seen more than 400,000 visitors. The Lunar New Year season buoyed growth from source markets – Hong Kong posted a 93.8 per cent growth rate, China, 69.9 per cent, Macau, 44 per cent and Taiwan, 20.7 per cent.
February also marked the third consecutive month the Philippines received over 400,000 visitors a month since December 2012, an upward trend the DoT predicts will continue into the summer months.
Conde Nast Traveller: Destinations to watch in 2013: Philippines
Conde Nast has predicted the Philippines to be the 2nd in the Hottest Destinations in the World for 2013. For travellers willing to go the extra thousand miles for a deserted beach, the Philippines have around 7,000 of the most heavenly islands in the world. It's still not the most obvious beach-holiday destination, but it soon will be.
It's becoming particularly popular among serious divers, who come for the incredible underwater life, unspoilt coral gardens with rainbow-bright fish, green sea turtles and dugongs. In Bicol you can swim with the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark. While fish-fans of a different nature can go deep-sea fishing in one of the deepest trenches in the oceans, not far from the little-known island of Siargao.
The archipelago of Palawan ticks all the boxes: palm-fringed white-powder beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, natural lagoons for wild swimming on Miniloc Island - all of it protected by UNESCO. Its Bacuit Bay is something like Halong Bay in Vietnam, only without all the tourists - for the time being, at least. There are just a handful of resorts, which are tasteful and deliberately low-key. Two of the newest are Ariara Island and El Nido Pangulasian Island, a private-island resort with palm-thatched villas, a spa, its own dive centre, and sea views to melt the heart.
Another super-stylish new opening is Dedon Island, on Siargao; it's owned and designed by contemporary furniture brand Dedon. And a perennial favourite is Amanpulo, yet another high-design private-island hotel on Pamalican Island. Or sail around them all in style on Alila's new boat, the Phinsi.
As the gateway to these private-island retreats, the Philippines capital of Manila is also having a moment. Among its new openings - another one in December 2012 - is the Fairmont Makati City.
Sorry, Maldives... We love you, but we've got a new flame.
Blue Horizons Travel and Tours, Inc. attended the recently concluded ATF 2013. With over 1,000 exhibitors from across ASEAN and more than 460 booths at ATF Travex 2013.The ATF presented a wide range of diverse products and services from the 10 ASEAN countries. The exhibition boasts 75 corporate booths, the highest number achieved by the event thus far.
15 March 2012: "It's More Fun in the Philippines" Campaign a Big Hit at the ITB
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. led the Philippine delegation in launching the "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign in Berlin, Germany as part of the country's participation in the Internationale Tourismus Borse (ITB-Berlin) 2012, the world's biggest travel fair.
The Philippine delegation kicked off with a launch party last March 8, 2012 at the ultra trendy disco club Felix, to give more than 300 European travel trade and media representatives an experience of how it is indeed more fun in the Philippines. Party host Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. was welcomed and introduced to the crowd by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s body double-slash-impersonator. Home-grown world class talent was shared by Cebuano violinist Jake Gacang, a Filipino dance band based in Germany called Maloy's Band, and Grupo Tribale, a three-man Bacolod-based percussion band.
The event also awarded the winner of the DOT-Frankfurt’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” meme-writing contest. Silvia Alander of First Reisseburo won a fun package to the Philippines sponsored by Blue Horizons Travel and Tours, the Manila Hotel, El Nido Resorts, Ambassador in Paradise and Amorita.
The campaign highlights the most important tourist attraction the Philippines can offer, aside from its beautiful beaches and perfect weather – its people. The Filipino’s joyful disposition and love of life makes every vacation in the Philippines an unforgettable experience.
In his opening speech, Secretary Jimenez said, “The fun is always greater than the problems that we face in travel and that it is also the core principle behind relativity which I think is a German idea. The objective of tonight is to have more fun than anything else because tonight you’re going to have more of the Philippines than anything else. The only thing you could probably have more of is the vodka. Thank you very much for being here. This room is hereby declared as a piece of the Philippines.”
Fans with Fun Philippines graphics served as giveaways to the happy European guests. The Philippines’ very own ‘Vuqo Vodka’ was the welcome drink. Special Philippine cocktails called ‘Philippine Fun Twist’ and ‘Manila Sunset Breeze’ were served throughout the evening, with Philippine memes and graphics shown on the multiple screens of restaurant-bar Felix to create the Fun Philippines atmosphere, convincing even the non-tourism crowd that partying is so much more fun in the Philippines.
26 January 2012: Our feedback from the Asean Tourism Forum in Manado, Indonesia
The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is designed to promote tourism to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. The event involves the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member nations of ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
For the past 31 years, the hosting of the ATF has rotated among the member countries. This year, Indonesia decided to hold the ATF - which was attended by over 1,600 delegates (including 400 international buyers and 100 international media) - in Manado, Northern Sulawesi. Although there were some noticeable problems with the organization and logistics of the event, the quality of the buyers was very high and enthusiasm for the Philippines was palpable. Blue Horizons was represented by Alex Stutely (CEO) and Jayne Lim Ong (Sales & Marketing Manager).
06 January 2012: DOT launches new marketing campaign
Please click the image above to see the official campaign website >>
25 December 2011: We wish you a Merry Christmas!
On behalf of the entire Blue Horizons team, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We hope that you will have a very successful and prosperous start to 2012.
Please click the image on the right to enlarge >>
11 November 2011: Our report from the World Travel Market in London
The World Travel Market, which is now in its 32nd year, is one of the leading global events for the travel industry. It attracts approximately 30,000 visitors over a period of four days. Blue Horizons attends the event every year, and pariticipates as an exhibitor on the Philippines Stand.
This year we were able to meet up with a large number of existing clients from Europe, the Middle East and India. We were also able to sign a number of new destination management / ground handling contracts with some of the leading tour operators in the world.
30 October 2011:
Blue Horizons continues to strengthen its tourism promotion in the Russian Federation and the CIS countries with participation at the Otdykh Leisure Fair at the Crocus Exhibition Center in Moscow.
The Otdykh is the main international autumn trade fair in the region and signals the beginning of the winter season. The fair attracts a multitude of operators and companies involved in the tourism sector from all parts of the globe and provides the venue and mechanism for countries to promote their entire product range for tourism - from sightseeing trips, wellness and educational holidays to safari, adventure and winter-sun and long distance destinations.
A total of 23 industry partners from the Philippines, including two people from Blue Horizons, were present at the fair.
The DOT introduced a new travel business interaction activity innovated to optimize cooperation and support for and with Russian tour operators and their travel agents.
Several Russian tour operators actively promoting the Philippines from Russia and the CIS countries (including Vand International and Quinta Tour) conducted presentations of their travel programs at the mini-theater within the Philippine booth.
The presentations consisted of a general overview of the Philippines, a sales presentation of an airline partner and the launch of the latest edition of the Philippine guidebook.
Ambassador Victor G. Garcia III attended the official opening of the Otdykh Leisure Fair on September 21. The Ambassador said that Philippine participation at Russia's biggest tourism fair is proof that the country has become an important tourist destination for the Russian traveler.
With the theme “Philippines: Undiscovered Treasures,” PHITEX 2011 was designed to showcase the country’s hidden gems, best-kept secrets and natural bounties scattered throughout its 7,107 islands. From the stunning geographical landscapes, verdant vistas, sun-blessed shores, prolific underwater life and the myriad of adventures on offer, to the vibrant nightlife, remarkable shopping and delectable cuisine. Unique destinations and activities were introduced and promoted during the event.
The main objective of the Phitex is to sustain the growth of inbound tourists to the Philippines. The Travel Exchange, the principal module of the PHITEX, was held on 01 September, and provided a venue for invited Foreign Buyers of tourism products and services to transact business with Philippine Sellers during one-on-one pre-scheduled business appointments.
Alexander Stutely (CEO) and Marjorie Aquino (Sales & Marketing Executive) respresented Blue Horizons at the event.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Mandarin language website:
This website has been launched in order to improve awareness about Blue Horizons and the Philippines in the China Market. Blue Horizons recognizes the growing importance of China and Hong Kong as sources of inbound tourist traffic for the country, and we want to ensure that we are easily accessible for members of the travel trade in that region.
We will also be launching German and Russian versions of our website in the coming months.
Blue Horizons Travel and Tours and the Philippines Department of Tourism again participated in the launch of the Emirates Holiday’s "A World of Choice" brochure this month. The event, which is held in Dubai Fesitval City, is attended by over 6,000 members of the public and 400 industry professionals from around the region.
This year, the Philippines presentations introduced new destinations to the market, including Marinduque and Palawan, and gave a more detailed insight into tourist destinations such as Manila and Boracay.
The Arabian Travel Market was also extremely successful, and many agents expressed interest in the Philippines as a new alternative to Thailand and Malaysia (which are already well-positioned as tourist destinations for Middle Eastern travellers).
Blue Horizons was once again present at the world-famous ITB in Berlin. The 45th ITB Berlin came to a close after attracting a significantly larger number of buyers from abroad and the best exhibitor figures ever. Despite the rail strike, the leading international trade show for the travel industry reported that trade visitor numbers remained stable at last year's level. The good volume of business at the trade show provided an additional boost to the current upturn in the tourism sector.
There were approximately 170,000 visitors at the world's leading trade show for the international travel industry this year, and orders were made with a volume in excess of six billion euros.
Ms. Jayne Lim represented Blue Horizons Travel & Tours at the Philippines Selling Mission to Delhi and Mumbai earlier this month.
We are very excited about the projected growth of the Indian market next year, as Philippine Airlines will be commencing direct flights between Delhi and Manila in March 2011. PAL will fly six times a week from Delhi to Mumbai - and this should result in a significant increase in tourist traffic between the two countries.
The Indian government also recently announced that Filipinos will be granted visas upon arrival in India starting in January 2011. The visas will be valid for a maximum of 30 days, which will allow plenty of opportunity for Filipino people to experience the wonders of Incredible India.
Blue Horizons is currently the Philippines Ground Handler / DMC for many of the largest outbound tour operators in India.
Alexander Stutely recently returned from a trip to Europe, where he was able to visit key clients in Stockholm and also attend the World Travel Market (WTM) in London. The WTM was very successful for the Philippines this year, and the Department of Tourism did an excellent job in providing a world-class stand for the Philippines private-sector delegates.
Staged annually in London, World Travel Market - the premier global event for the travel industry - is a vibrant must attend four-day business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and International travel professionals. It is a unique opportunity for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. By attending World Travel Market, participants efficiently, effectively and productively gain immediate competitive advantage for their business and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.
Blue Horizons has been voted "Best Travel Agency in the Philippines, 2010" by the readers of TTG Asia, TTG Mice, TTG China and TTG-BT Mice. The awards are given to "excellent organizations of the travel trade within the Asia Pacific region that have shown strong commitment towards service excellence".
This is the third year in a row that Blue Horizons has been given this prestigious award. Blue Horizons CEO Alexander Stutely collected the award on behalf of the entire Blue Horizons team during the TTG Awards Night in Bangkok.
Blue Horizons Travel and Tours and the Philippines Department of Tourism participated in the launch of the Emirates Holiday’s "A World of Choice" brochure this week. Close to 6,000 members of the public and 400 industry professionals attended the event at the Events Centre of the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai Festival City.
Hosted annually to support the launch of Emirates Holiday’s "A World of Choice" brochure, local travel experts from over 30 countries across Europe, the Americas, Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean, Asia and Australasia showcased a range of holidays with something to suit everyone – from family holidays to city breaks, beach holidays and safaris to cruises and spa breaks. The three day travel event has become a firm fixture in Dubai’s annual calendar, offering something for everyone looking for that perfect summer break. The number of public visitors who attended the consumer day represents an almost 50 per cent increase compared to the number of people who visited last year.
There was a good response to the Philippines from consumers and trade visitors alike. Source markets that showed a particularly strong interest in the destination included Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey and the UAE.
Blue Horizons was represented at the event by Mr. Alexander Stutely (CEO) and Ms. Jayne Lim (Inbound Sales Manager). The Philippines Department of Tourism was represented by ASec. Benito Bengzon Jr.
Earlier this month the management of Blue Horizons signed a new contract with Abacus Singapore and Abacus Philippines, extending Blue Horizons’ technology partnership with Abacus for another five years.
Later this year Blue Horizons will be launching several new travel tools which will make it easier and more efficient for clients in the Philippines to book international travel services.
On Monday 1st February 2010, the Board of Directors of Blue Horizons held their twice-annual Board meeting. During the meeting, Mr. Alexander Stutely was promoted to the position of President and CEO of Blue Horizons, and Mr. Arnie Bayag agreed to postpone his retirement and remain with Blue Horizons as Director of Government & Business Relations. The budget for 2010 was also approved.
Alexander Stutely and Clare Attwood represented Blue Horizons Travel and Tours at the World Travel Market in London this month. Alex Stutely gave the following feedback:
"We were pleasantly surprised by the WTM this year. We had been anticipating a lower turnout than usual (due to the economic crisis), but we actually had a very productive and rewarding show. It was excellent to meet up with some of our European and Middle Eastern clients to discuss strategies for the year ahead. It was also very good to meet some new people and establish some new relationships. We are now even more optimistic about the prospects for Blue Horizons and inbound tourism to the Philippines in 2010."
Blue Horizons has been voted "Best Travel Agency in the Philippines, 2009" by the readers of TTG Asia, TTG Mice, TTG China and TTG-BT Mice. The awards are given to "excellent organizations of the travel trade within the Asia Pacific region that have shown strong commitment towards service excellence".
This is the second year in a row that Blue Horizons has won this award, and the third time in the past five years. Blue Horizons Chairman (Frank Attwood) and General Manager (Alexander Stutely) collected the award on behalf of the entire Blue Horizons team during an awards ceremony in Bangkok.
We are very pleased to announce the official launching of the "Islas Luxury Destinations in the Philippines" website.
Islas is the luxury travel brand of Blue Horizons Travel and Tours. The brochure and the website highlight our selection of the very best luxury offerings in the Philippines.
Please visit: www.IslasPhilippines.com
Earlier this month, Alexander Stutely (General Manager) and Jayne Lim (Luxury Travel Manager) represented Blue Horizons at the Philippine Travel Exchange in Manila.
Secretary Ace Durano of the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) commented that “this year’s Phitex is the biggest and largest yet, with intensive business appointments lined up for the most influential buyers from different market segments,”.
In all, Phitex 2009 attracted 205 foreign buyers. The event was held at the SMX Convention Center, close to the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.
Many markets were well-represented: there were buyers from Asian countries such as India, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China (PROC), Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Oceania was also represented with New Zealand and Australia.
However, the biggest delegation came from Europe. There were European buyers from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The fast growing Middle East market was also represented by companies from the United Arab Emirates (including Emirates Holidays); and retailers and wholesalers from Canada and the United States were also in the roster of buyers.
We are pleased to confirm that over the past few months we have seen a signigicant increase in group bookings from India and Pakistan. This is the result of a concerted campaign by Blue Horizons and the Philippines Department of Tourism. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the Philippines as a tourist destination in these two markets which have a combined population of over 1.34 billion people.
In previous years, three major problems had hindered outbound tourism from India and Pakistan to the Philippines: difficulties in securing visas, the high cost of international flights, and a lack of awareness amongst the travel trade and the general public. We are pleased to report that these barriers have been significantly reduced. Visas are now being processed at the Philippine Embassies much more rapidly, there is an increased awareness of the Philippines, and airfares are beginning to reduce. Also, it is important to note that many of the key players in the Indian and Pakistani travel trade are now more enthusiastic about selling the Philippines.
We look forward to welcoming more Indian and Pakistani tourists to the Philippines in the near future.
Last week Blue Horizons’ Customer Relationship Manager (Clare Attwood) visited some of the company’s key clients and partners in the United Kingdom. The purpose of this visit was to enhance our relationship with the key players in the UK market. Discussions with the Product Development Managers within these companies highlighted opportunities for further development of the Philippines as an outbound market for British leisure travellers.
Last week, Blue Horizons and the Department of Tourism (Team Europe) brought 100 Swiss travel agents to the Philippines. The event, known as the ‘Swiss Mega Fam 2009’, is the largest of its kind ever to come to the Philippines from Switzerland.
The 100 travel agents work for (or are sub-agents of): Tourasia, Wettstein, Kuoni, and Flex Travel (TUI).
The agents stayed at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, where they participated in workshops and training sessions about how to sell the Philippines. Then they were split into four groups of 25 pax, and sent to Boracay, Bohol & Cebu, Palawan or Banaue.
After their tours of the various tourist destinations, they returned to Manila and spent one or two nights at the Makati Shangri-La hotel in Manila.
The aim of the Swiss Mega Fam was to increase awareness about the Philippines in the Swiss market, and to educate the key players in the travel trade about what the country has to offer. This was done with the overall aim of increasing tourist arrivals to the Philippines from Switzerland.
We are pleased to report that the 20th Far East Live Seminar was a very successful event for Meiers, Blue Horizons and the Philippines.
These are a few extracts from a letter sent by the Directors of Meiers Weltreisen to Blue Horizons after the event:
"The 20th Far East Live Seminar in the Philippines was one of the best in recent years. Therefore it will be extremely difficult for us and the future destinations to reach the bar you have raised up."
"You and your staff were the key players in this years' event. The passion you have extended towards us and the whole function with your organisational and operational skills was more than excellent. This is not only our opinion, also the opinion of each participant we’ve talked to over these days...."
"Please accept our sincere appreciation to the job you and your staff have done. You have extended us your warm hospitality and support which can not be described in words."
"After such an event we are very confident that all of us will benefit from this."
The senior management of Blue Horizons would also like to thank Meiers Weltreisen for allowing us to handle this event, and for giving us a chance to showcase some of the wonderful attractions that the Philippines has to offer.
We look forward to working closely with Meiers Weltreisen over the coming months to further develop Inbound traffic from Germany to the Philippines.
Next month the Philippines will be hosting the Meiers Weltreisen 20th Far East Live Seminar – probably the most important travel industry event for the German FIT leisure market in Asia.
From the 3rd to the 7th May, Meiers Weltreisen – Germany’s biggest outbound wholesaler to many Asian destinations – will be bringing 280 of their top travel agents to the Philippines. The whole group will be staying at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila, and Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa. During the five day event, the agents will be visiting many of the hotels and resorts that are featured in the Meiers brochure, attending workshops and training seminars, and enjoying some of the best tourist attractions that the country has to offer. Sofitel, Shangri-la and the Department of Tourism will all be hosting glamorous dinner parties. Discovery Shores in Boracay will also be hosting a special dinner for Meiers’ senior management and key partners.
A large number of other hotels and resorts are involved with the event in some way – mainly by hosting groups for lunches during site inspections, or providing overnight accommodation for pre and post tours.
Preparations for the event have been moving ahead at full speed for several months now. As the ground-handler of Meiers Weltreisen in the Philippines, we have been organizing most of the programme. This has been done in coordination with the Philippines Department of Tourism. The Secretary of Tourism, Ace Durano, and the Governor of Aklan province have both pledged their full support to making the event a success.
The Far East Live Seminar has been held by Meiers for the past 19 years. Last year’s event took place in Shanghai, China. We are extremely pleased that Meiers has chosen the Philippines as the venue for this year’s event as it is their landmark 20th year. Meiers’ confidence in the Philippines is a sure sign that the country is still on the rise in the European market.
Earlier this month, Blue Horizons participated at the ITB in Berlin. This year's ITB was a huge success for BHTT and the rest of the Philippines delegation, despite the fairly gloomy global economic situation.
For the past two weeks, Russian tourists have been enjoying their New Year's holidays in Boracay and Cebu. The tourists arrived on charter flights from Krasnoyarsk in central Russia, and they have been staying at such resorts as Discovery Shores in Boracay and Shangri-la Mactan in Cebu. The Russian charters have been coming to the Philippines for several years now, and they are an excellent source of tourist revenue for the country. On Friday 16th January the organizers of the charters and members of the Blue Horizons senior management team (including Alex Stutely, Carla Mariano and Cecile Sa-a) paid a courtesy call to the Russian Consulate in Cebu, and were very kindly received by the Honorary Consul, Ms. Armi Lopez Garcia.
Earlier this month, Mr. Alex Stutely and Mr. Jem Kemp represented Blue Horizons Travel & Tours at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, and at a selling mission in Zurich, Switzerland. Blue Horizons is a regular participant at the WTM, and holds a table each year at the Philippines stand. The subsequent selling mission in Switzerland was particularly important for Blue Horizons, as this market was one of the first to be established by the company back in the early 1980's and it remains a key part of Blue Horizons' Europe Market strategy. Many Swiss wholesalers attended the event, which had been organized by the Philippines Department of Tourism.
We are pleased to announce that we have just been awarded ISO certification. Over the past few months we have been working with a British consultancy company to achieve ISO certification, in order to demonstrate to our clients that we are operating in a well-structured and efficient way, and to prove that we are using formalized and efficient business processes.
Now that we have achieved ISO certification, this will give us the following benefits:
We are proud to announce that Blue Horizons / FCm Philippines has just been voted "Best Travel Agency in the Philippines, 2008" by readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, and TTG Mice. The prestigious travel industry award is bestowed each year upon "excellent organisations of the travel trade within the Asia Pacific region that have shown strong commitment towards service excellence". Members of senior management thanked the whole Blue Horizons team for their dedication and hard work over the previous months.
Blue Horizons is pleased to announce the launching of the first of ten new tour products. The first product to be revealed is the Blue Horizons "Luxury Kayaking Safari" - luxury kayaking tours of the El Nido and Bacuit Bay area, Palawan. The kayaking safaris are set in one of the most beautiful parts of Asia, where sheer karst rock formations drop down into the deep blue surrounding waters. Stunning white beaches and coves compete with mangroves, jungle and spectacular reefs and corals for attention.
The best way to discover these unexplored islands is in small group kayaking tours where guests spend their days kayaking, snorkelling, photographing and learning more about the environment. This is a fantastic opportunity to visit the area and interact with the outstanding bio-diversity including rare and unusual marine life, flora and flora and of course the local geology.
This Luxury Kayaking Safari tour has been developed in conjunction with Marine Biologist and Professional Guide Mr Lee Goldman. Lee has a Masters Degree in Marine Biology and unrivalled experience in providing exclusive water based tours of tropical regions.
Blue Horizons is honoured to host a group of elite Russian travel agents as they inspect many of the country’s top tourist destinations, including: Manila, Cebu, Davao and Boracay. Blue Horizons was one of the first companies in the Philippines to identify Russia as a key up-and-coming inbound market for the country, and the company has worked hard to develop relationships in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Siberia and Vladivostok. Russian agents have expressed particular interest in luxury holidays and scuba diving packages for the Philippines.
For the first week of May, the senior management team of Blue Horizons conducted thorough site inspections of all of the major hotels and resorts on Boracay Island. The site inspections are carried out on a regular basis in order to ensure that the company is up-to-date with all on-going construction, developments, changes in staff, and so on. The company also reviews F&B outlets, health and safety practices, guest facilities, and room quality.
Over the past few weeks, hotels and resorts in the Philippines have been giving Top Producer awards for room sales in 2007. Blue Horizons has done particularly well this year, thanks in part to the strategy of diversifying our market-mix whilst remaining committed to our core business: European brochure agents.
Alexander Stutely of Blue Horizons receiving a "Top Producer 2007" award from Mr. Henry Chusuey and Ms. Isabel Garcia of Boracay Regency Beach Resort.
Earlier this month, Mr. Alex Stutely and Mr. Arnie Bayag attended the ITB in Berlin. The ITB is one of the largest travel industry trade shows in the world; it provides an excellent opportunity for meeting existing clients, as well as looking for new ones.
During the ITB, DOT Frankfurt launched their new marketing material – including new German-language brochures (designed by Hettich Medien using photographs taken by Tobias Hauser) and a stunning audio-visual presentation. The Philippines Department of Tourism in Frankfurt is led by Ms. Venus Tan, who appears in the photo (right) with Mr. Arnie Bayag of Blue Horizons.
Mr. Alex Stutely and Mr. Arnie Bayag have just returned from the ATF in Bangkok. Feedback from the event was mainly very positive: the meetings with agents were good, and the hospitality was excellent. There were only some small problems with the organization of the transportation.
The Philippines delegation included: Blue Horizons, Club Paradise, El Nido Resorts, Philippine Airlines, Badian Island Resort, Maribago Bluewater, Eskaya, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Linden Suites, Dos Palmas, Intercontinental Hotel Manila, Microtel Inns and Suites, Southeast Asian Airlines, Annset Holidays and the Waterfront Hotel Group.
Mr. Alex Stutely and Mr. Jem Kemp will be representing Blue Horizons Travel & Tours at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London from the 12th to 15th November 2007. Blue Horizons is a regular participant, and holds a table at the Philippines stand (AS 20000). Any travel industry professionals who would like to set a meeting with Blue Horizons are encouraged to contact us before Saturday 10th November.
Mr. Jem Kemp and Mr. Henry Columna are attending the FCm Travel Solutions partners meeting in Sydney, Australia. The two-day event will include meetings, presentations and open forums.
The Philippine Travel Exchange (Phitex), which was held in Cebu this month, is widely considered to have been a huge success. Blue Horizons was represented by Arnie Bayag and Alex Stutely, and they were able to conduct meetings with over 80 foreign agents. Mr. Bayag and Mr. Stutely also escorted a group of German travel agents to the beautiful province of Bohol for site inspections and a half-day countryside tour.
Jem Kemp and Alex Stutely represented Blue Horizons at the annual Philippine Micronesia Alliance conference. This is a description of the meeting, taken from the Alliance website:
The annual Philippine-Micronesia Alliance meeting took place on the 31st of August at the German Club in Makati, Manila, everybody attended the meeting including our partners from Truk Lagoon, Chuuk and Palau Micronesia. Bill Stinnett from Chuuk arrived the same day via China, Sam Scott and Dermot Keane from Sam's Tours, Palau arrived two days prior the meeting, enough time for some shopping in Manila, Rene Buob from Calypso/Pinjalo Dive Resort Boracay, Juergen Warnke from Club Paradise and Dirk Fahrenbach from Dugong Dive Center who just got back in time from his China visit see the previous blog on the China Dive Expo, Jem Kemp and Alex Stutely from Blue Horizons (our Travel specialist) and Allan Nash from Asia Divers and El Galleon just made it in time, he just arrived back from Thailand.
Our Airline partner Asian Spirit was represented by Anna Lorraine Tan, of course our charming Carmela Laurin from Club Paradise was present as always, in other words everybody was there, we had a full house. After a marathon meeting of 4 hours we came up with some very exciting things for 2008, which will be announced as soon they have been finalized, the very best thing you can do is, subscribe to our blog or visit our website for all the latest News and packages. I like to thank all the Alliance partners for their positive ideas and their attendance including my [Gunther Deichmann's] staff Arnold and Rhandy.
Henry Columna and Alex Stutely attended a full-day training program hosted by FCm Travel Solutions Singapore. The training was conducted by Robert Dell, Felicity Burke and Chriss Macaranas, and covered: Regional Sales Strategy, Account Management, Sevice Level Agreements, and Global Reporting. Alex Stutely also used the opportunity to announce that Jem Kemp is becoming involved in the Corporate Sales & Marketing area of Blue Horizons and will now be responsible for all matters related to FCm Travel Solutions. Jem will also continue as Project Manager for Scuba Dive Philippines and Golfing Philippines.
The Managing Director of Blue Horizons (Mr. Arnie Bayag) and the Chairman (Mr. Patrick Blum) have attended the ITB in Berlin again this year. The ITB is a regular feature for Blue Horizons, and indicates the importance that the company places on the European Market.
Blue Horizons has accompanied the Department of Tourism on a ground-breaking trip to India. The trip, which took place this month, is the first time that the Department of Tourism has attended the Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) in India. Alex Stutely from Blue Horizons made a presentation in Mumbai to approximately 100 travel agents from companies such as TUI, Thomas Cook, and TCI, and noted that the feedback was very positive. One agent stated "The timing is perfect, as many Indian travellers are tired of going to Malaysia and Singapore, and we have been searching for the next big destination in the region. We look forward to selling the Philippines".
Various sections of the Blue Horizons Inbound Department have generated record sales in December, and the outlook for 2007 is just as promising. The Inbound Department is looked after by Ms. Gigi Jamiro, Inbound Operations Manager.
Blue Horizons Travel & Tours is proud to announce the launch of the Philippine-Micronesia Alliance website. The Alliance aims to promote scuba diving in the Philippines in Micronesia.
The Philippine-Micronesia Alliance consists of the region's premier dive operators, hand-picked by the Alliance to guarantee scuba divers the finest in quality holidays and the highest levels of diver safety, customer service standards and professional business practices in the industry.
The Philippine-Micronesia Alliance website can be viewed at the following URL:
On Friday 16th June 2006, Blue Horizons Travel & Tours hosted a meeting with The Walt Disney Company's visiting Director of International Corporate Travel, Mr. Vic Van Den Brandeler. The meeting, which took place at the EDSA Shangri-La in Ortigas, was also attended by Mr. Vergel Macalino of Walt Disney Philippines, Mr. James Kavanagh of FCm Travel Solutions Australia, and Messers Alex Stutely and Patrick Blum of Blue Horizons. During the meeting The Walt Disney Company was welcomed as a client of FCm Travel Solutions in the Philippines, and specific details of Disney's regional travel requirements were discussed. We look forward to working closely with Disney over the coming months.
This month has seen a number of developments at Blue Horizons. We have taken on new staff, restructured our management team, and rewarded our hard-working employees with a special bonus in recognition of last year’s good results. We have also signed a new contract with the The Walt Disney company to handle their travel requirments in the Philippines and (in partnership with FCm Travel Solutions) the rest of Asia Pacific. Our Dot Com department has started operating extended office hours, from 7:00am to 10:00pm on weekdays, and is now operating 7 days a week. Representatives of our Cebu office attended the "Suroy Suroy Sugbu" travel event in Cebu, and the M/V Lagoon Explorer sailed down to Australia. We expect the coming month to be equally busy, with a number of new and exciting projects on the horizon.
In connection with these developments, we would like to welcome Ms. Lynie Pispisano and Ms. Angelie Peralta to the company. We would also like to congratulate Alex Stutely on his promotion as Online Business Development Manager.
This month we have been implementing changes to some of our internal processes, in order to achieve maximium operational efficiency. This was led by Mr. Frank Attwood, and focused on updating our accounting, IT and Human Resource systems. Improvements include a new payroll system, a significant reduction in accounts receivable, a new system for issuance of international and domestic tickets, and more.
In connection with these changes, we would like to welcome Mr Edwin Canales to the company. We would also like to welcome Ms. Weng De Leon, and Mr. Carl Batac.
The past month has been very busy, as usual. We have continued to see strong demand for hotel rooms throughout the Philippines – especially Manila. Our Managing Director and our Chairman travelled to Berlin for the ITB (one of the world’s largest travel events), and our China Market team had some very productive meetings in Shanghai and Beijing. We also attended the Visayas Travel Expo in Cebu, which was organized by our very own Cebu Branch Manager Ms. Cecile Sa-a (who is also the President of the Cebu Travel & Tours Association). Meanwhile, the M/V Lagoon Explorer has been peacefully sailing the turquoise waters of northern Palawan under the guidance of our much-loved crew. We look forward to another busy, productive month ahead.
The past month has been particularly hectic due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays (the traditional "peak" season in the Philippines). In fact, we had our best month ever. Whilst our Inbound team have been working at full pace to handle inquiries from agents and clients around the world, our Market Managers have been formulating their strategies for the coming year. At the same time, we have been developing our new corporate website, which reflects our company’s elevated position in the local market and our new partnership with FCm Travel Solutions. The new Blue Horizons corporate website was officially launched this week, and can be viewed at the following URL:
It has been another busy month for Blue Horizons, made memorable by the amount of traveling that was involved. Assorted members of the team were sent to the far corners of the earth for trade shows or sales calls, and remarkably all of them returned in one piece. China, Thailand, Switzerland, England, and of course many parts of the Philippines were on the agenda. Meanwhile, the Lagoon Explorer has been sailing the crystal clear waters of the Calamian Islands in Palawan and our new Boracay office has started operating for the first time, bringing the total compliment of offices to ten. We also have a new Chinese-speaking person on our team (Ms. Marlyn Sim), who will be responsible for overseeing the development of our China Market.
It has been a busy month for Blue Horizons. In the past four weeks we have: opened a new office in Boracay, attended the FCm Travel Solutions Network meeting in India, started the new sailing season of the M/V Lagoon Explorer, launched the Golfing Philippines website, sponsored the British Chamber of Commerce’s Oktoberfest, expanded the team at our Manila office, and continued to build on our success during the first three quarters of the year. The next month promises to be just as busy, and we look forward to another four weeks of challenges and progress.
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