MANILA – With less than 200,000 Singaporean visitors to the Philippines in 2017, Manila is planning to hold a tourism fair in the Southeast Asian state this year to further increase Singaporean arrivals, an envoy said Tuesdsay.

Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap said there is no tourism attache in the city-state at present, but the embassy is working closely with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in drumming up promotions.

"In tourism, we actually work through the Department of Tourism. They don’t have an attache here but they worked with a person who promotes Philippine tourism," he said. "And the embassy also, we tried to work with them as well as our other Filipino partners here, like the airlines, for example, the Philippine Airlines."

"For this year, for example, they are planning to have a tourism fair, specifically to promote the Philippines to Singaporeans," he added.

Yap said roughly 200,000 Singaporeans travel to the Philippines annually as tourists, while about 500,000 Filipinos come to Singapore.

"But of course, that means we can still try to improve that balance and try to get more Singaporeans to visit the Philippines," Yap said.

With additional emphasis on more tourism fairs, more cooperation with travel agents in Singapore, and more direct flights to the Philippines, the envoy said Manila can easily increase the number of Singaporean tourists.

Based on latest DOT data, Singaporean visitors in 2017 decreased by 4.21 percent from 176,057 in 2016 to at least 168,637 last year. (PNA)