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Mandarin-speaking Filipino tour guides now ready for influx of Chinese tourists
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: By Rachel C. Barawid
Date: 2005-02-24
Chinese tourists arriving in the country will now be pleasantly surprised to find Mandarin-speaking Filipino interpreters and tour guides assisting them on the various immigration procedures in the airports as well as in tourist-related establishments.

Some 26 participants from the Department of Tourism, hotels, airlines, travel agencies, and local government units (LGUs) recently completed a two-and-ahalf month course on Mandarin to better communicate to the growing number of Chinese nationals visiting the country.

The short-term course on Mandarin conducted by the DOT Office of Tourism Standards, is part of DOT’s series of programs aimed at making the Philippines a more attractive destination for this East Asian market. Other programs are the "Meet and Assist" program and the VisaUpon-Arrival privilege granted to Chinese visitors.

According to Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, the Philippines hopes to capture a larger share of the burgeoning Chinese outbound market — at least 70,000 visitors from China by yearend and 300,000 to 500,000 target tourist arrivals by 2010.

The Mandarin course complements the "Meet and Assist" program, which addresses the need for interpreters by nonEnglish-speaking Chinese, Korean, and Japanese tourists as they process immigration requirements upon arrival at the airport.

Durano explained that having a good number of Mandarin-speaking employees in the country’s tourism-related establishments will enable Chinese visitors to communicate more easily and feel more relaxed and at home in the Philippines, encouraging them to come back.

"This will definitely help boost the image of the Philippines as an ideal destination for holidays and conferences among the Chinese, whose desire to travel has been steadily growing," Durano said.

The DOT has come up with marketspecific subcampaigns to address the varying needs and interests of travelers in its primary markets which are Japan, China, South Korea and North America.

For China, it is promoting the Philippines as a high-end destination and a "hidden treasure" waiting to be discovered.

Durano said the Chinese are attracted mostly to the country’s natural scenery, good weather, beautiful beaches, rich history and culture, and friendly people.

An ad campaign in Mandarin will be produced bearing the theme "Wow Philippines," as "wow" has become a favorite expression of pleasant surprise among the Chinese. It will be shown in local channels in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, places where there are many foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs).

About 36,203 Chinese tourists came to the country during the period from January to November last year, an increase of 24.4% from 29,093 arrivals recorded in 2003.


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