MANILA – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on Monday said the country’s hosting of the FIBA World Cup 2023 from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 has brought favorable improvements to the tourism industry.
Frasco noted an uptick in the hotel occupancy rates as teams, basketball fans, families and members of various delegations enjoyed the country's hospitality and accommodation, and discovered famous local destinations throughout the tournament.
“FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 has brought to the fore our excellent hospitality and the distinct Filipino virtues of familial welcome and warmth for our guests,” she said.
Based on the DOT-National Capital Region (DOT-NCR) office report, the nine FIBA official hotels in Metro Manila saw a higher average hotel occupancy from Aug. 25 to Sept. 12.
"For instance, Conrad Manila in Pasay reported a 100 percent average hotel occupancy from Aug. 25 to Sept. 12, Hotel101-Manila and Microtel MOA with 92 percent, Hilton Manila with 91.8 percent, and TRYP MOA with 91 percent. Meanwhile, Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig reported a 96 percent hotel occupancy rate during the period," she said.
Boost visitor arrivals
In a recent report, the DOT's Statistics, Economic Analysis and Information Management Division (SEAIMD) likewise observed an increase in the volume of visitor arrivals from countries that saw action during FIBA World Cup.
Out of the 20 countries, almost half registered a growth rate of more than 100 percent in terms of visitor arrivals to the Philippines from July 1 to Sept. 12 compared to the same period in 2022.
Among these countries are the Dominican Republic with 700 percent increase; Latvia, 600 percent; China, 595.85 percent; Lithuania, 444.58 percent; and Serbia, 429.07 percent.
Heeding President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s call for a whole-of-government approach to ensure the successful hosting of the FIBA World Cup, the DOT ensured that participating ballclubs and visiting fans were greeted with distinct Filipino hospitality.
The DOT conducted training sessions on the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence (FBSE) for almost 500 FIBA World Cup 2023 volunteers.
It also partnered with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority to enhance key areas, including airports, competition venues, as well as non-competition venues including official hotels, practice gyms and fan zones.
Synergy of tourism consortium
To encourage visitors to explore the country in between FIBA matches, the DOT rallied national tourism associations including the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), the Hotel Sales and Marketing Professionals (HSMA), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) in forming a tourism consortium that offered FIBA-exclusive tour packages to some of the country's popular tourist spots.
TCP President Bob Zozobrado said the consortium came out as one of the “major wins”, seeing how the private players came together to work on tourism packages and launched these in time for the FIBA World Cup.
"The DOT has (the) full support of the private sector. We were told in such a short time and practically, overnight, we are ready. That's how supportive the private sector is of whatever endeavor DOT involves itself with. We reassure Secretary Frasco that she can call on us anytime," he said in a separate statement.
For PHILTOA President Fe Abling-Yu, the consortium has allowed private tourism sector players to "synergize more on sports tourism" and has realized the "great potential and demand" for this particular product.
"This partnership with all the associations, we extended this beyond the consortium. We partnered with our tour operators in Boracay, Coron, and in the other ten destinations. We did not only include the tour operators, but other sectors as well including transportation," she said.
The MVP group and the FIBA International, in a separate effort, have contracted the services of a travel and tours agency in offering activities including adventure, heritage, wellness, jeepney tours and calesa rides to more than 700 delegates composed of VIPs (very important persons) and guests of the FIBA World Congress.
"It showed the warmth and hospitality and the friendly people of the Philippines. They only saw Metro Manila because that was where the games were, but in terms of the support of the government to a private event, it was 100 percent," PATA Philippines Chapter Chairperson Maria Paz Alberto said.
The DOT hopes to further boost the strong public-private tourism partnership that started with FIBA World Cup hosting, especially with the Philippines' expected hosting of more important international events slated this year and 2024.
"Central to our whole-of-nation campaign effort to champion Philippine tourism under the Marcos administration is to support and work closely with all of our stakeholders from all aspects of the tourism value chain,” Frasco said.
“Our hearts are filled with gratitude for our partners, especially the national tourism associations—the TCP, PHILTOA, PATA, and the HSMA—who without hesitation, answered the call to unite and work together in our earnest desire to encourage foreign and local basketball fans to explore and Love the Philippines," she added.
The Philippines co-hosted FIBA World Cup 2023 with Japan and Indonesia. (PNA)