GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 Jan) – In a bid to draw more foreign tourists or visitors, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Region 12 is planning to organize a tourism promotion and selling mission this year in South Korea.
Nelly Nita Dillera, Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 12 director, said they are currently drawing out the initial plans and strategies for the selling mission, which will be the first-ever international tourism marketing event that will be launched by the region.
She said they have started linking up with tour operators and other tourism players in parts of South Korea to help facilitate the planned selling mission.
Dillera said she personally explored the possibility of holding the selling mission in the East Asian country during a visit there last year.
“We’re mainly looking at increasing our tourist arrivals from South Korea and eventually establish it as our top foreign tourism market,” she said.
Dillera said they considered such move to capitalize on the growing interest and preference of South Koreans to visit the country.
She said Koreans are currently the country’s top foreign visitor, reaching a total of 958,289 from January to October last year.
A report released by the DOT central office showed that Korea accounted for 28 percent of the international tourism receipts in the same period with P48.622 billion.
In Region 12, Dillera said Koreans only placed second in terms of foreign tourist arrivals in the last two years.
But she said the region has the potentials of becoming a top destination for Koreans due to various world-class attractions in the area.
“We already know what products they want, which are mainly nature and culture. We have all these products in Region 12 so it’s just a matter of bringing them here,” Dillera said.
In 2013, the region recorded a total of 11,858 foreign visitors mostly coming from the United States, Korea, Canada, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
DOT-12 recorded a total of 345,328 foreign and domestic visitors to the area in 2013 and targeted around 1.9 million in 2014.
The agency is still finalizing the region’s total tourist arrivals last year but it already recorded around 1.6 million as of October.
Tourism stakeholders in the region staged a week-long selling mission in the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod in March last year as part of its enhanced tourism promotion and marketing strategy dubbed “12th Paradise.”
DOT-12 launched the “12th Paradise” in late 2013 as the region’s tourism brand. It focuses on “what Region 12 can offer as a paradise” through its world-class natural and cultural destinations.