Jiangsu province in China and the Philippines have agreed to intensify their marketing efforts to accelerate the movement of tourists between the two sides.
"For 2009, we are optimistic that the growth of arrivals from China will be sustained. We will intensify our marketing efforts and strengthen mutual cooperation," said Ms. Arlene Alipio, head of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Team China during a visit by a 30-person delegation from Jiangsu province in Manila this week.
Ms. Alipio said the Philippines will participate in the World Exposition in Shanghai in 2010, when the two countries will also commemorate 30 years of diplomatic relations.
Arrivals from China peaked at 157,000 in 2008 from just 107,456 in 2005, as the Tourism Department tried to take advantage of the rising purchasing power of Chinese travelers. This made China the fourth leading source of foreign tourists in the Philippines, next to Korea, United States and Japan.
Ms. Alipio said there were plans to have chartered flights, if not direct flights between the Philippines and Jiangsu province.
Jiangsu, the main tourism province of China, however, wanted to draw more tourists from the Philippines, which is already one of the top 20 sources of its international arrivals.
"There is a tremendous space for cooperation between the Philippines and Jiangsu," said Dai Hongyu, assistant director general of the Marketing and Promotion Division of Jiangsu Provincial Tourism Bureau.
The Chinese delegation visited the Philippines as a part of its Southeast Asian tour to promote Jiangsu, in time for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. Jiangsu is just an hour drive by car from Shanghai.
It was the first time that the Jiangsu provincial tourism bureau dispatched a delegation to the Philippines, a country "with big outbound tourist market that is expected to grow quickly in the coming several years."
"The Philippines, as an emerging tourism market, has tremendous development potentials and Jiangsu thinks a great deal of this market," said Dai Hongyu.
"There are many positive and beneficial conditions for the tourism cooperation between Jiangsu province and the Philippines. Both parties' tourism resources are greatly different, and have strong mutual complements in tourism economy. We believe that the prospect is broad for both parties' mutual benefit cooperation," the delegation said.
Jiangsu province, the home of the Ming Dynasty, occupies 102,600 square kilometers on the eastern coast of China. It is famous for its 10 World cultural heritage sites, 25 excellent tourism cities, and a total of 309 national tourist attractions.
These attractions include classical gardens, old water towns and ancient cities.
The province has 895 hotels, including 42 five-star hotels and 155 four-star hotels. It employs 43,000 tour guides in 1,661 travel agencies, including 83 international travel agencies.
In 2008, Jiangsu accommodated a total of 5.44 million inbound tourists.
Top attractions in Jiangsu include the Yangtze River, Grand Canal, Lake Taihu, Lake Hongzehu, Zhouzhuang water town, Tongli world cultural heritage classical Tuisi garden, Master-of-Nets garden, Humble Administrator's garden, Lion grove garden and Lingering garden.
There is the Nanjing Ming Xiao Ling or the Xiaoling tomb of the Ming Dynasty.
Jiangsu is the home of Huaiyang cuisine, one of the major traditions of the Cuisine of China.
Suquian, located in the northern part of Jiangsu, is the hometown of King Xiang.