Philippines Attracts Koreans With English Programs

Korea is a good market for the Philippines, as its people visit not only for tourism but also to learn English, said Joseph Ace H. Durano, secretary of the Philippines Department of Tourism. Durano was in Korea to lead the fifth Philippine Hotels, Resort Road Show, which opened Sunday for a six-day run. The annual event promoting the country’s tourism services visited Pusan and Taegu as well as Seoul this time.

Korea is the largest Asian market for Philippine tourism, and second biggest source of foreign tourists, accounting for about 20 percent of the total market share,’’ Durano said.

The country is aiming to attract 600,000 South Korean travelers this year. About 490,000 Koreans visited last year.

Besides visitors on honeymoons and leisure sports like golf and scuba diving, the number of Korean residents there is also growing _ currently 130,000 people _ including the student population there mostly to study English, the secretary said.

For example, on Iloilo, the western part of Cebu, half of a hotel there has been rented by a Korean operator for students. For two months, students learn English with Filipino tutors one-on-one for four hours a day, and for the rest of time they enjoy other activities. The Korean travel market is not like traditional tourism,’’ he said.

As part of their efforts to better accommodate Korean visitors, the tourism body plans to send Korean instructors to the Philippines to teach the Korean language to tourist front-liners at resorts.

Today Durano will deliver a special lecture to students at Sejong University about tourism in the Philippines and the importance of English in tourism.

Caption: Joseph Ace H. Durano, right, secretary of the Philippine Department of Tourism, talks with Lee Sang-seok, vice president of The Korea Times, during a courtesy call on Lee at the newspaper’s office in central Seoul, Thursday. Durano visited Korea for the Philippine Hotels, Resort Road Show. Korea Times Photo by Shim Hyun-chul

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