Philippine Tourism Info Center Opens in Seoul
Director Maricon Basco-Ebron to Open One in Busan
By June Low
The Philippine tourism showroom was launched on July 21, 2012 at the City Center adjacent to Seoul City Plaza. The opening of the showroom is a welcome addition to the Philippines’ drive to not only promote tourism, trade, but also its diverse culture in South Korea.Korea has for the past six years remained as the top source of tourist traffic for the Philippines. For this reason, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) felt the need to launch a tourism showroom to service the Korean travelers better in accessing travel information about the Philippines.The Philippines has been one of the most popular tourist destinations for the Koreans for many reasons. English education at affordable cost, proximity to the Philippines, climate, food and the friendliness of Filipinos are among the reasons why Koreans love to visit the Philippines.
|Philippine Tourism Info Center in Seoul|
Honeymooners, golfers, businessmen, families and other Korean tourists enjoy the Philippines’ bountiful natural attractions. What sets the Koreans apart from other countries is that they share a historical bond with the Filipinos, a bond which was forged in blood.From 1950-1955, a total of 7,420 Filipino soldiers staked their lives to help restore peace and freedom in the Korean Peninsula and some 122 soldiers died defending South Korea.In grateful remembrance, Korea is now providing scholarships to progenies of these soldiers, and extending medical help to the surviving veterans. Korea’s official development assistance is also visible in infrastructure projects and training of government officials. Not to be left behind, Korean NGOs are sending volunteers to far-flung areas in the Philippines for community development. It is apparent, therefore, that what makes the Philippines attractive to Koreans are the common values they share with the Filipinos, from their democratic way of life to showing care for the environment. The adherence to Filipino values is one of the top qualities of the Philippines that make it a worthy tourist destination. Truly, it is the people themselves who make traveling more fun in the Philippines. One thing that anyone can enjoy at the Philippine tourism showroom is that it is always possible to approach the staff on duty to receive one-stop service ranging from selection of destinations in the archipelago and tour operators to reservation of airlines, hotels and restaurants.
|Ms. Maricon Basco-Ebron (right), tourism director and attaché of Embassy of the Philippines, poses with Philippine Ambassador Luis T. Cruz.|
|Philippine Tourism Info Center in Seoul|
To this end, the showroom provides one of the best internet services, with a very user-friendly interface to help visiting guests with such services on real time basis.At present, the Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Airlines and Zest Air are sponsoring convenient services at the showroom. “With its strategic location, I am confident that the Philippine tourism showroom would serve as another big platform to showcase its national campaign,” said Ms. Maricon Basco-Ebron, tourism director and attaché at the Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul. “It’s more fun in the Philippines”The Seoul Plaza, which is only few steps away from the Philippine showroom, is a popular site for citizen gatherings and also better known as a cheering ground for the Korean team at FIFA World Cup or Summer Olympics. During the winter season, the plaza turns into ice skating rinks, a 600 square-meter one for children and a 1,500 square-meter one for adults, making it the hottest spot among hundreds of thousands of Seoul residents.
Visitors to the showroom can now experience the taste of real Filipino mango juice, real coffee blends while watching the destination videos on the big-screen smart TVs inside and outside of the showroom. The videos also feature rare Philippine books on Philippine history and culture. Tour packages offered by the three Philippine carriers namely Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, and Zest Air and additional information about the airlines can also be found in the showroom.“We want to-be travelers to the Philippines to experience the many wonderful things that the Philippines have to offer at the showroom,” Ms. Ebron said. The Philippines tourism showroom is staffed with three experienced travel specialists who can provide guaranteed customer service satisfaction to visitors with information about tourism attractions as well as guiding materials about the archipelago.The newly opened Philippine tourism showroom is likely to become a destination, and not just a dropping off point to pick up travel booklets about Manila, Cebu, Palawan, or Boracay as well as other popular tourism spots. The Philippines is expected to welcome more than one million visitors from Korea by the end of this year. All visitors will get a chance to win free airtickets to the Philippines by courtesy of Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Zest Air; and Le Soleil de Boracay, and Maribago Bluewater Resorts will also be providing accommodation for winners. Other exciting prizes also await all visitors.For details or inquiries contact the office of Philippine Department of Tourism-Korea at 598-2290.
|Ms. Maricon Basco-Ebron, tourism director and attaché of Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul poses for camera in office.|
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June Low serves as staff writer for The Seoul Times. She graduated from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with a degree in psychology. Low studied the Korean language at Yonsei University and Sogang University in Seoul. Her hobbies include playing the guitar and the piano.