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RP Targets Adventurous Travelers, "Birders"
Ms Maricon Basco-Ebron, tourism director and attaché at the Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul
The Philippines is setting its sights on adventure travelers by offering new tour packages aimed at introducing and highlighting the country's great outdoors and climate, Ms Maricon Basco-Ebron, tourism director and attaché at the Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul quoted Tourism Secretary Ace Durano as having said during his recent tour of the United States.

In an interview with The Seoul Times, Ms. Ebron said that the new adventure tours were presented at a tourism exposition in Seattle and Washington respectively where Secretary Durano said: "Our exhilarating adventure packages coupled with our sunny clime complement the high experiential travel population in the US."

Durano went on to say that the new campaign features such Philippine destinations such as Subic, Cagayan de Oro City, Mt. Pinatubo, Camiguin Island, Cebu, Nueva Vizcaya and Palawan.

Subic, for instance, prides itself on the jungle survival course taught by native Filipinos. Adventure travelers could also try rappelling via zip lines between tree canopies and suspended bridges, Durano was quoted as having said.

For the more unusual experiential travelers, Mount Pinatubo has that authentic spa element with hot springs, volcanic ash and organic mineral stones used for treatments, Ms. Maricon quoted Secretary Durano as having said.

The new tour packages also highlight the various activities on water the Philippines has to offer, Durano said.

Water lovers can go white-water rafting and rappelling on Camiguin island or try the underground caves and rivers in Nueva Vizcaya and Palawan, he said.

In Palawan, tourists can dive to the wrecks of World War II Japanese ships and explore the limestone cliffs of Coron. The province also offers safari tours and mangrove kayaking, the tourism chief said.

In the meantime, Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said: "We Filipinos don't know how blessed we are in terms of the number of bird species we have in the country. We have 600 bird species, 200 of those endemic."

During the country's latest tourism campaign in London recently, he said that the Philippines has the highest concentration of bird species in the world per square kilometer and this opens up a new avenue for the Tourism Department to lure more visitors to the Philippines.

"We're always looking for products that would give added value to the Philippines as a destination. In the past few years, we have been successful in pushing general leisure the beaches, scuba diving, etc. But this, this is something that makes us stand out. We can claim that we are the highest in terms of bird species, and in terms of markets, bird watching has a huge market. It's just so perfect," Durano said.

Coincidentally, bird watching is the cornerstone of the country's participation at this year's World Travel Market. Durano heads the 70-strong Philippine delegation to the annual business-to-business travel exhibit held at the Excel Docklands in London recently.

With more than two million "birders" in the UK alone, this segment would be the tipping point for this high-end, high-yield tourist market, according to market watchers.

Earlier, the Philippines, through DoT London tourism attache Ramon Chicoy Enerio, inked a deal for the country to sponsor the Wild Wetland Center, a partnership that the Tourism Department hopes would squarely put the Philippines on the British birder's map.






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