MANILA, Philippines — The five-star Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan Island, Cebu made a significant gesture of support to the Duterte administration’s thrust to boost Japanese visitor arrivals to the Philippines with an intensive sales blitz in four cities in Japan.
In cooperation with Philippines Airlines represented by country manager Chris Lebumfacil, the delegation composed of 14 resort staff led by its general manager Efren Belarmino flew to Japan recently and visited four major cities: Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo and Fukuoka to promote the Philippines, particularly Cebu, to the high-spending Japanese market.
The Japan roadshow was a 12-day sales blitz, in support of the government’s intensive marketing campaign to boost tourism.
Three of the key cities they visited – Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya – already have direct connections to Cebu. Fukuoka flies directly to Manila as of the moment.
Belarmino said reaching out to the Japanese market has been the resort’s tradition, which they intend to continue every year.
“We intend to sustain the Japanese market with this gesture,” he said, taking note of the continued entry of more direct flights from Japan to the Philippines, making Cebu as its highlight destination.
The increasing numbers of direct flights between Cebu and Japan have become an important factor in the growth of Japanese arrivals to the country.
During the roadshow, the Plantation Bay sales team met with the resort’s key partner travel agencies in Japan and key officials of the Philippine embassy.
The team brought with them Cebu’s rich culture and heritage and innate charm in form of traditional dances, among others.
Aside from hosting events, the team also went sightseeing for them to experience the interesting culture of Japan and learn from them.
The healthy relationship between Japan and the Philippines, as reflected by the exchange state visits of President Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also bodes well for a blossoming of trade and tourism ties.
The Japanese market is mainly attracted to the country’s pristine beaches, food, dive sites and spa and wellness, which are all present in Cebu.
The Filipinos’ warmth and signature hospitality are what also attract them to come back or even retire here.
Cebu welcomed 157,666 Japanese visitors from January to May this year, up by 5.69 percent, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 7.
The continued influx of tourists from this market is being anticipated with the completion of Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in June.
As Cebu and Mactan sit well on the investors’ radar, Belarmino added that the resort is well prepared to accept more tourists from around the globe.
Alongside its aggressive marketing initiatives are the resort’s new enhancements.
It recently opened its latest retail offering called Plantation Bay Bazaar located within the resort’s property. The bazaar features a wide variety of local products for discriminating travelers.
The two-level, 125-square meter shopping facility sells high-end souvenir items and other local products.
“This is perfect for the Japanese market as homecoming gifts since they prefer items with a ‘story.’ When they go back to Japan they’ll be able to bring a piece of Cebu with them to share with family and friends,” said Belarmino.
Plantation Bay is also on track to complete the room renovations to provide guests a more comfortable and relaxing stay at the resort.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) expects to welcome at least 1.37 million Japanese guests by 2022.