From left, Virtuoso’s Senior Vice President Albert Herrera and his Account Executive Xabier Eguren meet with Philippine Consul General for New York Mario L. de Leon, Jr. and the Philippine Department of Tourism New York representatives Zeny Pallugna and Joey Chanco to discuss the marketing initiative. Joining in the meeting is USA and Orient Tours President Joebert Opulencia, who is a bona fide member of Virtuoso.

The Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT), through its New York office, forged strategic alliances with key travel consortia in North America to position the country as the next luxury destination in Asia.

PDOT is now a proud member of these leading and most influential travel associations or consortia in the U.S., namely: Virtuoso with 8,900 travel advisors, 375 member travel companies, and 1.5 million affluent clients; Signature Travel Network with 6,000 preferred travel consultants and 200 member travel companies; and the United States Travel Operators Association (USTOA) with 125 active tour operator members and 700 travel professionals.

These partnerships have set a limelight to the country among its mass and emerging affluent market.

PDOT’s joint ventures include travel blogs and webinars to educate the consortia’s preferred travel consultants or advisors, advertorials on online and print publications, and attendance to annual conferences and business meetings.

With this partnership, the Philippines is determined to capture a portion of the wealthiest 5 percent of the American market that take an average 14.3 trips a year compared to the 4.8 trips by an average U.S. traveler.

“We are hoping that we could entice more affluent travelers to visit the Philippines and experience our unique and authentic culture and island destinations,” according to PDOT New York’s Tourism Officer Zeny Pallugna.  

She also said that PDOT and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) are closely working together with high-end travel companies such as Abercrombie & Kent, Ker and Downey, Avanti, and Goway to push the Philippines to their exclusive clients through joint activities.

While airlines and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) are the main sources of information about a destination, traditional distribution channels, such as travel advisors, remain important for customized itineraries and booking ground arrangements targeting luxury travelers.


From left, Joebert Opulencia, Xabier Eguren, Zeny Pallugna, Albert Herrera and Joey Chanco.

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