MANILA -- French tourists continue to have a growing interest in the Philippines, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said, noting there has been a steady rise in the number of tourists visiting the country.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo made this statement after leading a Philippine delegation to the biggest French travel expo, “IFTM Top Resa,” in Porte de Versailles.

Teo and delegation held marathon meetings with top officials of associations of travel agencies and tour operators, including the Les Enterprises du Voyage as represented by its vice president Richard Soubielle, and the SETO headed by its secretary-general Jurgen Bachmann.

She welcomed the French people’s growing interest in the Philippines.

“The strong interest and support that we gained from our meetings with the world’s leading tour and travel executives are proof positive that we have accomplished our mission,” Teo said.

“The DOT is likewise encouraged by the consistent and growing interest of our local travel trade to grow the French market and we look forward to even more strategic and creative partnerships with them as well as with key communications establishments in promoting our fun destinations in France,” she added.

Moreover, she bared that two mainstream French TV networks are planning to feature adventure and travel in the Philippines on their primetime shows aired nationwide.

Among the members of the Philippine delegation are Assistant Secretary Arlene Mancao, Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, Regional Director Maria Venus Q. Tan and Tourism Attaché Margarita Patricia Valdes.

The private sector participants present were representatives from Ansett Holidays, ALIZE Voyages and Adventures, Asiaventure Tours & Travel, Baron Travel, Blueberry Sky Travel and Tours Services, Blue Horizons Travel and Tours, Corporate International Travel & Tours, Happy Juanderer Travel, Intas Destination Management, Select Travel Services, Travel Experts, Ten Knots Development Corporation and AHMGI Hotel Luna.

Data from the DOT showed that visitor arrivals from France went up from a 20 percent increase in 2015 and 2016 to nearly 25 percent increase from January to June 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. (PNA)