Asia’s new tourism tiger

Asia’s new tourism tiger

The Philippines has taken tourism by the tail, declaring 2016 as its year. Aleisha Moore puts a spotlight on the country’s new direction, and what it has to offer.

The Philippines has been touted as one of the top destinations to visit in 2016, and Kiwi travellers now have more time to explore the nation’s 7107 islands with Philippine Airlines’ new flights between Auckland and Manila.

Ramon Jimenez, Philippines secretary of tourism, says the country has entered a new era in tourism marked by strong growth and potential.

‘Getting tourism recognised as on of the sectors at the top of the national economic agenda is certainly a huge feat. Today, Philippines’ tourism industry is the 5th growth driver of the country’s economy.’

This year has been declared by the Philippine Department of Tourism as Visit the Philippines Year Again (VPA 2016).

‘We have one thing in mind: to cement the Philippines’ reputation as a must-experience destination in Asia,’ says Jimenez.

‘We are claiming it along with our promise of more fun as 2016 becomes our year of agains.’

Jimenez says travellers wont run out of reasons to visit the Philippines this year.

‘Together with the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines (TPBPHL), we have lined up many different activities for every persuasion. A full calendar of international events, which are all slated to happen in the country, awaits tourists in the Philippines.

‘We assure our new and returning visitors they will find the Philippines one of the most progressive, youngest and most inclusive societies in the 21st century.’

Jimenez says travellers can also experience a more visual Philippines.

‘Experience the Philippines, not one way, not two ways, but as a multi-level destination. From north to south, east to west, the Philippines is by itself a multi-city, multi-experience destination.’

Discovering the south of Luzon

Only a ninety-minute drive south of Manila, the southern region of Luzon boasts a delightful package of culture, heritage, traditional cuisine and scenery.

The heritage town of Taal, founded by Spaniards in 1572, offers a taste of the Philippines’ rich Spanish history with many of the buildings remaining as they have done since 1754 when the town was rebuilt after the deathly Taal Volcano eruption.

Guests can join a walking tour through the town, visiting the biggest and oldest Catholic Church in South East Asia, the Marcela Agoncillo house (a popular name in Philippine history as the principal seamstress of the first and official flag of the Republic of the Philippines), try on colonial period costumes at Villa Tortuga, explore the Philippines’ largest camera collection including some from the 18th century at Galeria Taal, and enjoy a traditional Filipino feast at Casa Villavicencio, a wedding gift house.

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