The Philippines has set its sights on Indonesian travellers to boost its foreign tourist arrivals this year.
Despite the two countries’ geographical proximity, which can be covered by a four-hour flight, the number of Indonesian tourists visiting the Philippines remains relatively low compared to that of other countries such as China, South Korea, the United States and other ASEAN countries, according to the Philippines’ Department of Tourism.
Indonesia ranked 14th in the Philippines’ foreign tourist visits, with 70,819 Indonesians visiting the Southeast Asian neighbour in 2019. The figure was also lower than the 76,000 booked in 2018. In contrast, 261,000 tourists from the Philippines visited Indonesia in 2019, a 20 percent increase from 217,000 the year before.
Carla Zaldiva, the Philippines Department of Tourism’s market development head for Indonesia, said the Philippines aims to welcome more than 80,000 Indonesian tourists in 2020. “For this year, we want to be more aggressive in our marketing campaign,” Zaldiva said.
To introduce the Philippines to Indonesians, the Department of Tourism and travel agents will participate in Indonesian travel fairs such as the Astindo Travel Fair, which took place last week in Jakarta.
The growing middle-class segment in Indonesia and its increasing desire to travel to nearby countries is seen as a huge potential that the Philippines needs to tap more.
The Philippines wants to offer Indonesia its diving tourism outside of what Indonesians can find at home. Pilgrimage tourism is also something the Philippines can offer as a Catholic-majority country with many historical churches.