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PDOT UK 2016 Key Activities

by | 23 Dec, 2016 | Travel Industry Updates


It has truly been a spectacular year for Philippines tourism from the UK from all the exciting events and activities done to the number of prospective travellers we have reached.  The Philippines’ total reach in all our consumer events and online promotions in the UK this year is estimated at 35 million people.

Globally, the country has welcomed a total of 4,464,992 visitors as of September, 12.08% higher than the accumulated 3,983,627 arrivals in the same period last year, making DOT’s 6-million target arrivals on track. Visitors from the United Kingdom has also recorded the second highest per capita expenditure with a spend of 47,433.21PHP during their stay.

The sustained strong market performance in UK, may be attributed to the expanding air access and support from partner airlines, growing consumer awareness and travel interest in the Philippines, and intensified marketing activities through high-profile consumer activations, strategic media relations and tactical engagements with the travel trade.

The travel industry continues to take notice with more UK tour operators adding the Philippines to their holiday portfolio. We have seen more new tour operators starting to sell the Philippines than in recent years.

This has resulted in the Philippines being included in the Top 10 destinations for UK travellers this winter holiday from a survey conducted by TourBar App, only the second Asian destination to be counted. While on Conde Nast Traveller, the Philippines was also counted on the Magazine’s Best (30) Winter Sun Destinations.

This year-end issue looks back at the most exciting activities done this year in the United Kingdom as we look forward to an even busier 2017 with more projects and campaigns.

Lastly, we at the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) London take this opportunity to thank all our partners and sponsor and greet you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!




Consumer Fairs

Throughout the year, PDOT continues to reach out directly to consumers by participating at the largest travel fairs in the United Kingdom and at special interest shows such as Diving.

Early in the year, the Philippines was well represented at the Times Destinations Holiday and Travel Show, London held last February 02-05. It was the largest consumers show for the general leisure market with over 45,000 visitors attending and seeking for inspiration for their long-haul destination that year. PDOT along with Hayes and Jarvis and Philippine Airlines engaged directly with active travellers who were keen to find out about the country’s latest attractions.


Shortly after, PDOT promoted diving to the capital at the London International Dive Show last February 11-14. Our participation in LIDS was supported by Philippine Airlines and four dive/tour operators (UK) and two dive resorts in the Philippines.


Later in October, PDOT was at Birmingham to promote diving to the rest of the country at the DIVE Birmingham show last 22-23. It was the largest participation by the Philippines at the show with a 64sqm stand showing the underwater attractions of the country. Over 10 partners from dive operators, resorts to Philippine Airlines, co-exhibited with PDOT at the booth.


The Philippines was also the grand prize destination sponsor at the event with Dive Worldwide partnering with Atlantis, PDOT and PAL to give away a luxury dive holiday to Dumaguete and Puerto Galera. The prize and sponsors were well promoted before and during the show, netting more than 20,000GBP in media value.


At these shows, PDOT introduced a new element in our participation to gather consumer data directly from the show visitors.  There were iPad stations which were platforms for consumers to see our new website, join the online competitions, see PAL’s offers and more importantly, a means for us to capture consumer data to be used for our e-newsletters and other consumer promotions activities.


 Consumer Activation Activities

 Rail Station Domination Series

New for 2016, PDOT conducted a “media first” and innovative consumer activation by exhibiting an experiential zone and dominating the major rail stations of London. These special events were held at London Waterloo Train Station from April 24 – May 23, London King’s Cross Station Domination from July 01-30 and at London Waterloo again last October 17 – November 13.


At these events, commuters were able to experience a taste of the Philippines by taking experiential photos on 3D adventure activities that can be done in the country. This also served as their entries to the popular Monthly Holiday Competition giving lucky entrants the opportunity to win a full package holiday to the country’s most beautiful destinations. They were also able to experience Virtual Reality 360 photos and videos of the country’s popular attractions.

PDOT also involved its UK travel trade partners including PAL, Flight Centre, STA Travel, Explore, Dive Worldwide, Secret Escapes, Hayes and Jarvis and Netflights. These partners promoted their Philippine offers on the station and to their loyal customers across their own platforms during the campaign.

Overall, these events were experienced by millions of commuters and many more around the world who have seen the video reports online.

Check out the videos of Waterloo I and Kings Cross – and


Philippines Tourism Weekend at Potter’s Field

Website Cover with Time 3

For its largest consumer activation event this year, PDOT held a two-day takeover Festival at London’s Potter’s Field. The entire Potter’s Field with fantastic views of Tower Bridge, was transformed into a full Philippine showcase with each destination fully represented.

Bohol had an industry-first next to Tower Bridge with a full 30-metre long zip-line, akin to the one by the Chocolate Hills. Manila had a jeepney bar and hosted multiple food stalls serving authentic Philippine fare. Davao had a fruit carving station and served fresh fruit juices. Palawan had a 3D image of the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Cebu had an underwater theme representing its diving attractions with a full aquarium and live coral where creative photo snaps could be taken.

PDOT’s travel partners such as PAL, STA, Philippine Dive Holidays and Crystal Travel were represented at the event providing a platform for interested visitors to inquire and book their holidays.

The event garnered an attendance of around 45,000 Londoners and holidaymakers over the weekend of 27-28 August.

Check out the video of the event.

Monthly Holiday Competition

To keep the interest of the consumers, a monthly holiday prize package was offered on our social media platforms, newsletters and live at key consumer activation events.  These packages serve as samplers of the actual packages being sold in the market with some being done in cooperation of travel partners such as Flight Centre and STA Travel.  This activity was done in collaboration with Philippine Airlines and various hotels and resorts in the Philippines.

Digital Campaign with Conde Nast

Another highlight of the first half of 2016 is the digital campaign done with Conde Nast.  We leveraged on the magazine readers’ interest on the Philippines, specifically Palawan, which was voted by readers of Conde Nast (US) as the best island in the world.  In cooperation with Philippine Airlines and El Nido Resort, the online competition was done on the magazines online platform from January 29 to March 7, 2016.  The campaign generated more than 5,000 entries and more than 200,000 page impressions.



Dive Campaign with Dive Magazine

PDOT London is currently on its second year campaign on DIVE Magazine, the UK’s most widely subscribed print and online publication for the sport.  The campaign includes a Philippines microsite, various online marketing campaign and cross-platform competitions to its more than 50,000 subscribers.  The current campaign will run until August next year.


Fil-UK market (barrio fiesta, community events, etc.)

PDOT continues to maintain good relations with the Fil-UK market as well as with the Philippine consolidators.  They are partners in promoting the Philippines to the mainstream market considering the huge number of Filipinos residing in the UK.

PDOT was a partner sponsor at the following events: at the Filipino Women’s Association

National Day Celebration at the Hilton on Edgware, London last June 11, at the Cardiff

Festival of Flowers on June 30, Mr & Ms. Philippines UK at Camden Hall in London last Sept. 17, at the Moda de Filipinas Fashion Show at The Millennium Hotel in Gloucester, London on Oct. 15 and at the “Simbang Gabi” night mass for the Share Hope Outreach Fundraising Charity at Wembley last Dec 18.

PDOT participated with exhibition booths at the Barrio Fiestas in London (Morden in June and at the Apps Court Farm in July) and special events in London in June 18 and Norwich last Aug. 14.




Social Media Campaign


PDOT-London is actively utilising social media platforms to reach more consumers.  It currently has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  Uses of these platforms were tightly integrated with all of its various campaigns and activities.


Travel Trade & Media and Corporate Account Networking and Product Presentations

 Travel Trade Shows


Last month, PDOT and the Tourism Promotions, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and the country’s top destination managers lured buyers and cemented travel partnerships at the World Travel Market from 7-9 November.

DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo lead the largest private sector delegation to the event with over 35 owners and managers of travel/tour agencies and accommodation and transportation companies, as well as representatives from the local government and legislative bodies.

It was a tremendously successful event for the destination with massive positive publicity garnered and multiple trade deals and partnerships accomplished.



PATA Partnership


PDOT has a very strong partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) UK Chapter and sits on its executive committee. PATA in the UK is one of the most highly engaged chapters globally by maintaining and growing its key trade partnerships in the industry and running highly successful events.

The Philippines is a regular exhibitor at PATA UK’s key events namely the PATA Quiz Nights, PATA Exchange and the Taste of PATA.

The PATA Exchange is PATA’s flagship event is a one day B2B trade-show, where sellers were able to meet decision-makers from tour operators, wholesalers and decision-makers for the travel agencies from across the UK & Ireland. Around 75 sellers and 100+buyers turned out for the 2016 event last 14 March.

PDOT was able to hold 24 meetings in one day at 15-minutes per session and are suitable for both established and new products wanting to gain exposure in this market

The Quiz Nights meanwhile allow Sellers to showcase their product to the travel agents in each city allowing the agents enough time to learn about each destination or hotel/resort. After, the agents answer the quiz questions from each exhibitor to win special travel prizes. PDOT partnered with Don PAPA for all the quiz nights who provided bottles of the special batch rum which was greatly welcomed by the travel trade.

So far, PDOT has reach travel agents in Quiz Nights in Cardiff on 17 March, Manchester on 2 June, Liverpool on 3 June and Aberdeen on 24 November.

The Taste of PATA event last 6 September served as a country and food showcase for PDOT who served dried mangos, banana spring rolls and adobo baguettes to over 270 UK tour operators and travel trade. The event also had a quiz component attached, encouraging the attending travel trade to liaise and network with each supplier.

Sponsoring the prize component for PDOT were Romulos Cafe and Don Papa.

PDOT also hosted the PATA Annual General Meeting last 26 September at the Philippine Embassy.

Lastly, PDOT attended and networked with the travel trade at the PATA Christmas Lunch last 16 December.


Roadshows with Travel Weekly and Travel Bulletin


Both Travel Weekly and Travel Bulletin also organise roadshows to allow suppliers to reach out to agents and frontliners across regional cities in the UK.

Travel Weekly is one of the leading travel trade publications in the UK. It has weekly distribution to over 15,000 front-line travel agents, tour operators and tourism employees. Travel Bulletin on the other hand, has a readership of over 25,000 travel agents in the UK.

As a result, PDOT London has trained agents in Leeds with scheduled participation at roadshows with Travel Weekly last 6 June and Norwich with Travel Bulletin last 4 July.


Sales Calls, Trainings, Product Trainings and Planning Meetings with the UK Travel Industry


PDOT regularly conducts sales calls, product trainings and planning meetings with the UK travel industry as part of its work program throughout the year.

PDOT has gone to Whitstable and Canterbury last July 24 to meet travel agents in both cities, training for Round the World Experts in Manchester last 19 Aug, conducted training for STA Travel, met with Trailfinders, Kuoni and Flight Centre in Glasgow and Edinburgh from October 13-15 and conducted training for STA’s Aberdeen office last November 24.

In London, PDOT has also conducted product development for Emerald Travel last July 19, Voyage Prive  on Aug 2, Turquoise Holidays last Aug 10, Round the World Experts London Aug 11 and Audley Travel last Nov 17.

PDOT also support the efforts of Philippine DMCs and airline partners with training to Kenwood and Trailfinders last March 7 with Blue Horizons and Hayes and Jarvis with PAL last July 6. PDOT with TPB participated at the recently concluded roadshow with PAL to Cardiff and London last November 10-11.

PDOT also conducts regular meetings and attends networking functions with the travel industry: Singapore Airlines, Digital Spring (multiple times throughout the year), Philippine Airlines (multiple times throughout the year), STA (multiple times throughout the year), Shangri-la Hotels and Resorts (multiple times throughout the year), Expedia (multiple times throughout the year), Flight Centre (multiple times throughout the year), Travel Bulletin April 15, Conde Nast Traveller May 10, Turkish Airlines May 23, Henley Regatta with Philippine Airlines June 30, Brightsun Travel 30th Anniversary Event July 1, Malaysia Airlines July 11, Premiere Holidays July 20, Cathay Pacific July 28, Cheapflights July 29, Large Minority Travel July 29, Conde Nast Traveller Readers Awards Aug 30, Air China Reception Sept 9, Travel News Daily Oct 18, Travel News Daily High Flyers Even Nov 1, Expedia VIP Dinner Nov 8, Malaysia Airlines Nov 17,  Nat Geo Travel Awards Nov 29, Travel Weekly Dec 12 and Travel News Daily Dec 19.



 Special Partnerships with the Travel Trade

 PDOT also runs special campaigns with its largest partners at key activation times throughout the year.

Stronger links with Carriers

With Philippine Airlines, it runs its monthly holiday competition to the Philippines. PAL also is a constant partner for joint participation in travel & consumer fairs, product presentations and business networking functions and invitational programs.


First Stop Singapore Next Stop Philippines Platform


In 2016, PDOT London implemented a Twinning Program between the Philippines and Singapore Airlines in 2016. This program positioned Singapore as the gateway/city hub combined with the Philippines as the final destination stop for island holiday and other leisure activities.

PDOT conducted a familiarization trip with ten top UK tour operators in June to Singapore, Boracay and Cebu last June.

The very successful promotions on First Stop Singapore’s digital platform from July – August gained 3,800 competitor entries for a holiday prize and generated over 1 million impressions. The Philippines maintain its presence as the featured first stop destination until the end of the year. The campaign generated thousands of bookings for the twin-centre program as a result.


PDOT cooperated with Emirates Air on media fam tour to promote the newly opened flight route from Dubai to Cebu/Clark in March 2016.

Emirates, together with PDOT and Goldmedal also embarked on a promotional campaign from March to April to promote on Gold Medal platforms bookings to the Philippines. The campaign generated a 20% uplift in bookings for the duration of the campaign.

PDOT worked with the Cathay Pacific to promote jointly the Philippines for special ticket and air and hotel packages for summer and on some press familiarisation tours. Both organisations agreed to cooperate on a bigger scale to promote on destination twinning opportunities with select agents.

PDOT had initiated talks with the Turkish Airlines to organize an inspection tour for the agents to promote the Istabul-MNL route and feature the Philippines in the agents’ programs with a familiarisation tour in the future.

Partnerships with Tour Operators, Consolidators and the Travel Trade



PDOT and TPB’s largest tour operator partnership campaign so far is with STA Travel, is the biggest global youth travel companies and is currently on its 2nd year aimed at increasing conversion even more.

The multiple market campaign is aimed at generating awareness and travel ownership amongst the youth to build an affinity with the destination. The campaign carefully composed to generate new content and utilise novel advertising platforms across the markets of promotion. This year, STA sent out British Band, Skinny Living to Palawan to generate stories, music and foster inspiration amongst the travelling youth.

STA remains a constant partner for PDOT at most of its consumer events and activations throughout the year.

Flight Centre has started its Philippine program this year with their sub-brand Round the World Experts following its participation as the sole featured tour operator at the King’s Cross Station Consumer Activation Campaign in July.

As a result, Flight Centre/Round the World Experts invested more than 40,000.00 GBP in media mileage to promote its Philippines’ product to their existing networks.


PDOT is planning an even bigger campaign with the brand in the future.


PDOT launched a campaign on Expedia UK over the entire month of December. Expedia, being the largest online travel agent in the UK currently brings in approximately 18,000 bookings to the Philippines each year.

With December being the highest search month for the Philippines on Expedia, the campaign incorporates a mix of standard display advertising banners and specific destination targeting with added values of Philippines branded landing pages. The campaign is expected to generate 20% uplift in bookings for the Philippines as a result.


Press Trips and Travel Industry Trips and Resulting Features throughout the Year


 PDOT-London organised/assisted a number of press and travel trade trips during the year.  Below are some of the notable results:

  1. Daily Mail UK online (March 06): Done Thailand? Asia’s must new-see destination is the Philippines
  2. The Telegraph London (May 11): Kate Humble: Diving for the weird and wonderful in the Philippines (Featuring Kate Humble’s amazing dive experience in Bohol)
  3. Travel Hack (April) : Elle Croft : A Mini Guide to the Philippines
  4. Dive Magazine and Geographical Magazine April 2-19 (John Nightingale and Alan Goodwin (Calauit, Coron and Leyte)
  5. The Independent (May 12) : Kate Wills : Travel Guide to… the Philippines
  6. Wild Foot Travel Fam Twin-Centre FAM to Papua New Guinea and Manila May 09-11
  7. Travel Hack (June) : Elle Croft : 5 Reasons You Should Know Cebu
  8. Conde Nast Traveller (May) : Streets of Asia
  9. Robson Green (ITV Robson Cursoe) (5 pax, El Nido and Manila)
  10. Wanderlust (June) : Nick Boulos: Dead Good
  11. Marine Planet (May) Ayeesha Durgahee – Malapascua, Moalboal, Oslob and Dumaguete
  12. Yorkshire Times (June) – Phil Hopkins

Thriller Manila Absolutely –
Capital of Cool Baguio City
Moma Shamans Cliff Coffins The Mysteries of North Luzon

Davao Duterte Paradise

Plane, Train, Automobile or Jeepney

Tagaytay – It’s Smokin’ Literally!

  1. Chef Richard Turner’s media exposure series on the Ph Trip and Adobo Burger Project (Aug.-Sept)
  2. Timeout Magazine UK (Nov.): DOT London’s online campaign to push and win for Romulo Café as the Most Favourite Restaurant in South Kensington Area
  3.   Wanderlust (September) : Mark Stratton : 48 hours in Manila
  4.   Good Things Magazine (October) : Wok Chef : Dreaming of the Philippines
  5. Dive Magazine UK: DOT London’s online campaign to support our bid for the Top Dive Destination Award for 2017 (ongoing)
  6. Pilot Productions: Travel researcher Kay Tooth with film crew from UK for the recce/preparatory coverage of Manila, Palawan, Negros, Cebu and Iloilo (Oct. 17-29)
  7. Rough Guides Part I: Travel researchers Esme Fox and Dan Convey to Manila, Mindoro, Palawan, Lucena and Bicol to update its Ph travel guide book (Oct. 12-Nov. 16)
  8.  ETurbo News (Nov.) :  Ph landed in the Top 10 Countries and Cities for UK Travellers for the winter holiday in the latest travel survey done by TourBar App in UK *Ph is one of only 2 Asian destinations which made it to the Top 10 list, including Thailand
  9. National Geographic for series on Philippines titled, Nigel Marven’s Philippine Adventure to be released in 2017


Special Events

PDOT also holds and attends special events for multiple purposes with the Philippine Embassy and to launch special promotions.


PDOT participates at the Philippine Country Briefing before the Ph-British Business Council in London at regular times throughout the year. Together with the Philippine Embassy/DOT London promoted MICE Attendance Promo-Product Presentation at the Oxford University before the Int’l Association of Law Librarians for the conference in MNL in Dec. 2017 last August 3. It held the media launch of the Philippine Adobo Burger at famed Hawksmoor Restaurant for UK-based Philippine media last September 21.

Last Holiday Competition for the Year – Win a Holiday to Manila and Cebu


Get that chance to win an amazing London-Manila return tickets via Philippine Airlines accommodations at Dusit Thani Manila (overnight upon arrival in Manila and overnight before that long haul flight back to London). Four fabulous nights at one of Cebu’s finest resorts, the Plantation Bay Resort & Spa to get your winter escape fix sorted. What more are you waiting for. Fill that form now! #FlyPAL #VPAHolidaysUK #PHWinterSunHolidays

For more information, please click here:



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