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DoT and Duty Free bring tourism to shopping
Source: Manila Bulletin
Date: 2011-05-01
MANILA, Philippines -- From designer stores to swanky boutiques, Manila has become an emerging shopping destination in Southeast Asia. When exploring the streets of the capital city, tourists are usually surprised that almost every street has ritzy malls with stores offering much the same designer brands they can find in London and New York.

But in spite of the sprawling malls rising in and around the Metro, the grand daddy for shopping complexes for tourists and balikbayans, is still Duty Free Philippines (DFP). Through the years, it’s been a tradition for returning Filipinos to take their families pasalubong shopping at DFP; while tourists like buying their designer goods at the international shopping center upon arrival or before departure.

But DFP is more than just a shopping center. Created in 1997, it is a functioning unit of the Department of Tourism (DoT). Over the years, it has been able to make remittances to the national government in support of tourism destination development projects and international and domestic tourism promotions efforts.

“Duty Free Philippines is not just a travel retailer. It is an attached agency to the DoT where DFP’s mandate is to augment opportunities for tourists and generate foreign exchange and revenue for the government. All our efforts here are geared to support our country’s tourism industry,” said DFP Head Enchong Formoso.

With the directives given to DFP by its chairman, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, the agency is now focusing more on tourism related projects. “In terms of product development, shopping is a big attraction for our tourism industry,” Lim said. “We’re looking forward to the improvement of Duty Free stores to open up more opportunities for shopping as well as improve the service delivery of our tourism players.”

Part of DFP’s efforts in promoting tourism and travel is putting up tourism billboards at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals 1 and 2. Also to augment its service facility for tourists and balikbayans, we DFP is renovating its stores to adopt a new image and theme to coincide with its 25th anniversary.

“We will also have a wider array of products and new brands as soon as we renovate the stores. Also, DFP is now very active on the internet via our official site,, where people can see our promotion updates, new products. They can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. All this efforts are focused to reach our common goal which is to uplift the countries tourism industry,” said Formoso.

Recently, DFP launched the Fiesta Travel Awards, a gesture of appreciation by DFP for all the contributions and support extended by travel agencies and tour guides in the promotion of DFP’s products and services specifically at the Duty Free Fiestamall in Parañaque City.

“With inbound tourism on the rise, we thought that it’s about time that we focus on our new partners in the industry and recognize their unwavering support and of course reward their efforts Among the awards that will be given to all DFP accredited travel agencies and tour guides are, Travel Agency of the Year and Tour Guide of the Year,” shared Formoso.

Philippine Travel Agencies Association president Aileen Clemente said that all these efforts by DFP are fitting for the tourism private sector and its efforts to improve tourism, “Since the implementation of the Tourism Act of 2009, all the small steps that everyone has been taking in order to ensure the success of tourism which the private sectors have been aiming for a long time are now being realized.”

“Travel agents are now including DFP shopping to their tour packages so we would like to thank DoT and DFP for acknowledging the private sector as partners,” Clemente added.

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