TravCorp Launches Uscale ‘Escorted Journeys’ in Philippines

Launching its 2018 Luxury Escorted Journeys, The Travel Corporation (TravCorp) on Friday said the latest upscale product of their brand collaboration expects higher feedback rate from the Philippines, being a "resilient" market, with Filipinos being one of their avid travelers. 

"The most attractive market for us is the Philippines... it's a very lucrative market to travel," said Robin Yap, president for TTC in Asia.

Being in the country for around 37 years, the company has seen how "resilient" Filipinos are when planning a vacation or travel abroad, Yap said.

"Whether there's a typhoon, whether there's a potential volcano eruption, it doesn't seem to disrupt people from travel, and that is the resilience of this market," he explained.

“This market is the most resilient that we've seen in challenging times of Asia but the market growth (has) always (shown) a positive side," he added. "Also, Philippine people understands what luxury is."

The new brand is the brainchild of TTC's Luxury Gold and Insight Tours. Launched at Raffles in Makati City, the Luxury Escorted Journeys aims to showcase a unique and exclusive collection of VIP experiences to its guests, with the inclusion of stay in luxury hotels and dining into Michelin restaurants around the globe.

The tour offers a diverse selection of 42 small group journeys worldwide, including Europe, Britain, Africa, India, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and North America.

The Escorted Journeys also boasts of its latest Chairman's collection, which is curated by TTC's Chairman Stanley Tollman himself.

Among the program's highlights are exclusive experiences such as lunch with an Italian Count at his grand Tuscan villa, visit to the gardens of Alnwick Castle with the Duchess of Northumberland, dining with a French Count at Paris' oldest cafe or even joining Princess Anita von Hohenberg for a drinks reception at Artstetten Castle.

Filipinos, according to Yap, are expected to avail this product since the Philippines tops, next to Singapore, insofar as their volume market is concerned. The difference plays only in terms of the two states' processing of travel documents.

"Singapore has a clear advantage of not having to apply for a visa. You pick up your passport and travel tomorrow and no one will stop you but our clients in the Philippines need to process their visa applications, so there are other considerations," he said.

PTAA eyes travel agency school

The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) on Thursday said that it is reviving plans to open a travel agency school to increase the manpower pool and professionalize the industry.

PTAA president Marlene Dado Jante, in a statement, said the travel group would initially partner with a Metro Manila based university or college that currently offer travel industry related courses. 

Under the plan, the educational institution would have its students experience the actual operations of a travel agency and will be more practical in its applications than theoretical.

The PTAA will draft a program that will have 60 percent fieldwork and 40 percent lecture.

Integrated into the curriculum, the program will also feature subjects on the operations and experiences of a travel agency. 

Jante, meanwhile, warned the public against the proliferation of fly-by-night travel agencies easily available to most Filipinos. 

She said that the operations of agencies are being affected by bogus travel agencies that do not issue necessary permits, accreditations, and trainings.

The PTAA President urged travelers to seek legitimate travel agencies such as PTAA members which have necessary government permits, have existing offices, networks and partners also continuously receives regular professional and educational development programs from to further expand their operations and improve their services. 

"We want the public to closely check the credibility of a travel agency before doing any business with them. People should be very wary of these so-called travel agencies with zero or very questionable track records,” Jante said.

“It not only puts their travel at risk but also impacts the reputation of legitimate travel agencies," she added. 

Jante, meanhwhile, said the the PTA will coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism, Securities and Exchange Commission, and concerned local government units to trace these groups and suspicious travel agencies to have their operations stopped.

“We are taking a pro-active stance on this because there is a lot at stake both for the traveling public and the legitimate travel agencies operating in the country,” Jante said.

The PTAA counts close to 500 travel agency members nationwide with staffing of close to 8,000 individuals. (PNA/Azer Parrocha)

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