PH travel group eyes pact with Korean counterpart as tourism revival seen soon | Inquirer Business

PH travel group eyes pact with Korean counterpart as tourism revival seen soon

By: - Business News Editor / @daxinq
/ 04:07 PM September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) wants to boost operations of travel agencies, which the group expects to slowly resume operations in the coming months, by entering into an agreement with its Korean counterpart.

In a presentation during the Korea Tourism Organization travel online seminar, PTAA president Ritchie Tuaño said his group wants to negotiate an agreement with the Korean Association of Travel Agents very soon.

“We would highly appreciate the drafting and signing of a memorandum of understanding wherein both sides will commit to only dealing with accredited travel agencies and tour operators that are members of both our associations,” Tuaño said.


According to Tuaño, a deal with the Korean industry group would be a first for the association in terms of same-level international partnership and would add to the groundwork that is being done to slowly revitalize local travel agencies operations.


Tuaño said that South Korea was a prime consideration because of the volume of tourist traffic from both sides.

In describing the ideal agreement, Tuaño said that aside from both sides providing a list of their members to exclusively work with, the deal can possibly also cover items including standardized tour costing based on itineraries, recommended list of destinations per travel segment, and the setting up of a complaints and grievance committee.

“Two-way tourism between our two countries have been growing over the past ten years,” he said. “We want that growth trajectory to continue long term.”

Aside from partnering with its Korean counterpart, the local industry association is also pushing for 100-percent visa free entry to South Korea.

Currently, Filipinos are allowed visa free entry to Jeju Island. There is also the new five-day visa-free entry that comes with the stipulation that Filipino tourists enter through a major city and exit through Jeju Island.

“While we commend the maximum five-day visa free entry, both our governments must work on a complete visa free entry,” Tuaño said while citing the Taiwan model which, after giving visa free entry in 2017, has seen a rapid increase in Filipino tourists.


Last year, Koreans again topped tourist arrivals in the country with 1.99 million. It marked the tenth straight year with them as the Philippines biggest market growing by 168 percent from a decade ago when only 740,622 Korean tourists visited the Philippines.

At least 503,867 Filipino tourists visited South Korea last year making it the eighth biggest market after China, Japan, Taiwan, United States of America, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

Growth in the number of Philippine tourists travelling to Korea was pegged at 69.39 percent from the last decade when there were only 297,452 Filipino tourists.

The PTAA said it believes that the combination of the stimulus package from the Bayanihan 2 law and ongoing airline ticket refunds can aid in restarting travel agencies operations in the country.

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TAGS: #COVID19PH, Korea, PTAA, Tourism, Travel

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