Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo (middle) with DOT Director for Market Development Group Verna Buensuceso (right) discussing business with one of the French tour operators at the IFTM Top Resa show held in Paris, France last 20-23 September 2016.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has set its sights on the fast growing French travel market citing its double digit increase in tourist arrivals to the Philippines.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo underscored the long history of friendship between the Philippines and France in a meeting with French Tourism Minister Matthias Fekl during a recent business mission to Paris.

“The strong diplomatic relations between the Philippines and France should encourage for a more eloquent tourism related activities and exchanges between our people, and consequently bring our two distant nations much closer together,” she said.

According to Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, the DOT will shift its marketing strategy towards consumer promotions that leverage on social media and partnerships with key travel influencers to tap into the ‘high growth’ French travel market.

“We should capitalize on the power of social media to reach millions of users all over the world who are potential travelers. The 21st century travelers are highly reliant on their smart phones for information. But ultimately, their perennial objective is to stay connected. And this gift of social media that almost everyone has warmly embraced can be a game changer for tourism,” she added.

The tourism chief graced the IFTM Top Resa show held in Paris, France last 20-23 September 2016 that featured the Philippines to leisure, business travel, and MICE markets.

A four-day international tourism industry show, IFTM Top Resa is one of the “must attend” and only event that provides a unique access to the entire French and international tourism.

Secretary Teo played saleswoman at the international travel show. She paraded the rising competitiveness of Philippine tourism during the media interview rounds with All About Travel and L’Echo Touristique, two of the biggest French travel publications.

“The French travel market is prominently figuring on our radar as more and more tourists from this side of the world consider the Philippines as their choice of destination. And it is our goal to double these numbers in the next four years,” she added, disclosing DOT’s plans to go heavy on social media promotion and sponsor familiarization trips for travel influencers.

DOT Secretary Teo did not also miss acknowledging the Philippine Embassy in Paris for its continued support to Philippine tourism. She also discussed with Philippine Ambassador to France, Ma Theresa Lazaro, DOT’s plans to pursue a tourism cooperation with the French Embassy in Manila.

A brief meeting with the Philippine private sector representatives and several French tour operators selling Philippine destinations at the Top Resa rounded up the tourism chief’s itinerary.

One of the top 20 emerging tourist markets of the Philippines, inbound traffic from France has grown substantially from 29,007 registered tourists for the first seven months of 2015 to 35,378 visitor arrivals in the same period this year, up by 21.96 percent.

A French tourist stays for an average of 16 hotel nights and spends an estimated total expenditure of USD 1,011. In 2015, the French market contributed USD 34 million in tourism receipts.

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