"Are we losing the Chinese Market? Philippine Tourism at a time of Diplomatic Doldrums"

Ascott Hotel, Makati

The Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, Inc. (APPFI), in partnership with Asia Pacific Projects Inc. (APPI), a tourism consulting company, organized a roundtable titled “Are we Losing the Chinese Market? Philippine Tourism at a Time of Diplomatic Doldrums” on March 10, 2015 at the Ascott Hotel, Glorietta 4, Makati City.

A highly select group of individuals from the academic, government, business and civil society sectors came together to discuss the state of Chinese tourism in the Philippines, especially in light of recent political tensions between the two countries.  The objectives of the roundtable were 1) to assess the current situation of Chinese tourism in the Philippines; 2) examine the major problems and challenges facing the industry and its stakeholders; and to 3) reflect on the role of tourism in the future development of Philippines-China relations. 

In 2014, total Chinese outbound travelers reportedly numbered more than 107 million, or an increase of 19.49% from 2013, spending almost $164 billion.  With the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) targeting 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016, the opportunities represented by the Chinese market are not to be taken lightly.

The roundtable was held under Chatham House Rules, designed to increase openness of discussion by non-attribution of statements to specific speakers.  Expertly facilitated by former DOT Secretary Mr. Alberto Lim, the 21 experts at the table exchanged assessments and arrived at a number of recommendations, ranging from measures to capture a bigger share of the China tourist market, how to enrich their travel experiences in the Philippines, to the possibility of engaging in private sector joint ventures in marine ecotourism.  Three experts provided “thinkpieces” to start off the discussions: Dr. Aileen Baviera of APPFI spoke on “Chinese Foreign Policy at a Crossroads: Implications for the Philippines and ASEAN”; Ms. Narzalina Lim, President of APPI, presented on “Philippines-China Relations: Tourism Sector Situationer”; while Mr. Gerard Panga, former DOT Attaché to Shanghai delivered a presentation on “Chinese Travels to the Philippines: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities”.

The event host was Asia Pacific Projects Inc., whose mission is “to promote tourism development that is environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable”. APPI is an accredited consulting firm by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization. For more information on APPI, please visit http://www.asiapacificprojects.com.

The full report, including the recommendations produced by the roundtable, will be available soon.

This program is part of a roundtable series under the APPFI’s China Flagship Program concerning thematic issues in Philippines-China bilateral relations. Future activities will include discussions on trade and investment, resources management, security and law enforcement issues, and people to people linkages, among others. 

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