May 24, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

DOT secretary welcomes Korean incentive travelers

By Justine Rich Talusan

TOURISM Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco warmly welcomed the first of four batches of incentive travelers from South Korea who arrived  at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) on Thursday.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) values Seoul as a major market source and driver for travel and tourism growth for the Philippines.

The 1,400 delegation was greeted with the distinct Filipino hospitality upon their arrival in Cebu.

The travelers, onboard chartered flight KE 9615, are members of the Korea branch of UNICITY, a direct selling company on health functional foods, cosmetics and household items and with over 60 markets globally.  

As a reward to their top agents, sellers, and distributors, UNICITY-Korea sends a big volume of incentive groups to Southeast Asian countries annually.

 This year, the company is sending 1,400 people in four batches (Apr. 9, 13, 17, and 21) to Cebu.  

According to Frasco, this year, Korea reclaimed the number one spot in terms of tourist arrivals to the Philippines.  

DOT data showed a significant pick up in Korean arrivals since last year, with 428,014 or a 16.13 percent share of the country’s arrivals received between February 10–when the country eased its borders for leisure travelers—up until December 31, 2022.  

“The good news is that as of today, we have over 1.5 million tourist arrivals to the Philippines and our number one top source market are the Koreans. So we’re very grateful to our friends from Korea for continuing to show their love for the Philippines as they have come back in droves, and the UNICITY group in particular, has come with a delegation of no less than 1,400 individuals,” Frasco said.  

With Frasco during the welcoming rites were Lapu-lapu City  Rep. Cindi King-Chan, Lapu-lapu City Mayor Junard Ahong Chan, Rafael Aboitiz, chief executive officer of GMR – Aboitiz, Julius G. Neri, MCIA general manager, Heejin Noh, Corporate Business team leader of Tides Square Korea, Sangyeol Ha, Korean air station manager in Cebu, and officials of the DOT, including Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, Undersecretary Ferdinand Jumapao, and OIC-Undersecretary Verna C. Buensuceso.  

The travelers were also welcomed with leis, fascinating performances by Filipiniana-clad rondalla serenaders, as well as by vibrant Sinulog dancers.  

Prior to the pandemic, Korea ranked number one in terms of visitor arrivals to the Philippines, with 1,989,322 or 24.08 percent of the country’s total number of arrivals for 2019.