Developed cities lacking in the usual nature and heritage destinations can still harness the potential to attract tourists by focusing on its “unique characteristics” and products it can offer, a World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) official said on Wednesday.
“I think you got to look at differentiating yourself. Focus more on business, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions), or you could develop a product that would appeal to tourists because it’s not always heritage that everyone is attracted to,” Nigel David, WTTC regional director for the Asia Pacific and the Middle East, said in an interview.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Travel Talk: Cities and Urban Centers’ Readiness for Tourism forum at San Beda Alabang, David said cities should look at what opportunities and products it can offer to visitors.
“It could be shopping, for example,” he said.
“You can have shops that promote local products and the more local traditional things that the Philippines is used to. You got amazing food, you can develop markets. I think there are different opportunities that you can expand on there,” he added.
David underscored that the Philippines is host to “very big urban areas”, a characteristic that can be promoted as a “variety” that differ to the usual destinations the country is known for.
“That’s good though because you have a lot of cities like the Bonifacio Global City and other key cities outside of Manila itself. I think you got some great variety,” he added.
In terms of developing an urban area for tourism, another panelist agreed that the consideration should be based on the city’s uniqueness.
“Every city has its uniqueness and the development has to be based on the uniqueness of the city. But whether it’s prepared or not is debatable because there are people who like to go back to nature,” said Robin Yap, deputy chairman of Singapore Tourism Management Institute.
In the case of Singapore, Yap said the government has planned to look ahead 20 years in advance, considering the evolving changes in consumers’ demand. (PNA)