Philippine incentive demand holds strong amid uncertain economy

A tourist train travels on Jungfrau Railway

Longhaul bookings from Philippine corporations remain surprisingly upbeat despite high inflation rate, weak local currency, and other economic developments that are poised to render outbound travel from the country more expensive.

Speaking to TTGmice on the sidelines of a recent JTB Philippines MICE roadshow in Manila, Toyota Motor Philippines’ senior travel consultant Pritchie Sumeracruz, explained that the need for incentive programmes remains as it is not good to “stinge on our achievers as they bring in the sales”.

Destinations in Europe still rank highly for Philippine outbound incentive groups; a tourist train travels on Jungfrau Railway in Switzerland pictured

She shared that every year Toyota Philippines has six to eight incentive groups – from 30 to 300 pax – that prefer longhaul destinations. This year, destinations that rank highly for top achieving principal dealers are Slovenia, Croatia and Vienna.

It helps that DMCs offer competitive rates despite the eight per cent drop in the value of the Philippine peso a year ago, and 6.8 per cent inflation raid, Sumeracruz said.

Meanwhile, Vivienne Cruz, vice president of Yokohama Tire Sales Philippines, said that instead of cutting budgets for incentive trips or sacrifice the quality of the trips, the company instead increases the sales quota for their achievers.

This is because their achievers prefer Europe, widely considered as a plum destination unlike countries like US and Japan where it is relatively easier to visit and secure visas.

Meanwhile, other corporations that are already familiar with domestic and Asian destinations are increasingly turning to longhaul options. For instance, Atlas Fertilizer sent representatives to JTB Philippines’ MICE roadshow to look for European packages which the company will be rewarding their sales team with.

From the other end of the spectrum, Dominique Oi, Switzerland Tourism’s MICE manager South-east Asia, acknowledged that incentive trips from the Philippines is “picking up”, and that Europe is still the number one longhaul favourite.

Next year is promising to be as good as this year, enthused Oi, with incentive groups choosing Switzerland as a single destination. These groups spend 4N/6D on average, with some having relatively higher budgets than others.

Bella Calleja, JTB Philippines’ MICE manager for non-Japanese corporations, shared that corporate clients were more inclined towards longhaul destinations they considered new and exotic, such as South Africa, New Zealand, and Turkey.

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