Philippines, a potential market for ‘spiritual tourism’
The Embassy of France to the Philippines and Atout France, the French Tourism Development Agency, will lead a delegation of French tourism professionals in Cebu City and Metro Manila from February 27 to March 3, 2017.
After a successful promotion mission in Manila last year, Atout France and its partners, the Lourdes Tourism Board, Lisieux Tourism Board, Avignon Tourism Board as well as the Paris-based travel agency Bipel, will return to the Philippines to touch base with the media and various travel groups specializing in Christian pilgrimages.
Recognizing the huge potential of the Filipino market in spiritual tourism, the French Embassy and Atout France have decided to expand its program to Cebu City, where meetings with the press and a workshop for travel agencies will take place at the Radisson Hotel on Monday, February 27, 2017.
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- Procession in Lourdes © P. Vincent 13-OT Lourdes
French Ambassador Thierry Mathou noted the importance of this mission by citing the potential of the Philippines as a market for French tourism.
“We are delighted, once again, to continue the success of the previous mission. Promoting France, the top tourist destination worldwide in terms of arrivals, in the Philippines is strategic because the country is a fast-growing market in Asia for tourism,” Ambassador Mathou said.
“We are already the top European destination for Filipino travelers, and we are committed to maintaining this leading position,” he added.
According to Ambassador Mathou, tourism is also a strategic sector for the Philippines. "In the context of the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our two countries and the launch of our “PhilFrance: Feel French!” festival, our intention is to promote the development of tourism both ways. This is the reason why we are actively discussing with the Department of Tourism to implement the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the two countries in 2015 in the sector of tourism.”
This Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Department of Tourism during the state visit of French President François Hollande to the Philippines in 2015. It seeks to provide a framework for increased cooperation in the tourism sector.
France welcomed 82.5 million international visitors in 2016, maintaining its rank as the top tourist destination in the world
The tourism sector represents 8% of the GDP of France, and has created over 2 million direct and indirect jobs
The number of foreign visitors is currently rising: almost 70,000 Filipino tourists visited France last year despite the lack of direct flights
44% of cultural visits in France has a religious purpose
France is home to 50,000 religious sites, of which 10,000 are protected as “Historic Buildings”
France has 42 UNESCO world heritage sites. Of this number, 11 of them are religious:
- Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe (1983)
- Amiens Cathedral (1981)
- Bourges Cathedral (1992)
- Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, Reims (1991)
- Chartres Cathedral (1979)
- Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay (1981)
- Episcopal City of Albi (2010)
- Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge (1995)
- Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay (1979)
- Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France (1998)
- Vézelay, Church and Hill (1979)