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Philippines now being pitched as wedding venue to tourists  Sep 14, 2008

MANILA -- The Philippines as a wedding venue paradise? With the country’s scenic spots and the Filipinos’ thing for romance, it’s a pitch that holds a lot of potential, according to the Department of Tourism.

The DOT is positioning the Philippines as the newest destination for Japanese couples to get married.

Yearly, over 450,000 couples choose to hold their wedding ceremonies outside Japan, according to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.

He said Japanese couples usually went to Hawaii and Guam during the spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) to wed.

“Young, independent Japanese women have always been in the radar of our promotional activities, where we highlight the country’s relaxation, beach and fashion shopping attractions. As they move on to another stage in their lives, we want to show them ... [that] leisure trips are also perfect settings for weddings and honeymoons,” Durano said in a statement.

He also said that the market represented a huge opportunity for the Philippine wedding, food and travel industries.

Durano urged Filipino travel wholesalers, tourist establishments, wedding and event planners and other industry players to integrate their services and develop specialized programs. “Weddings are a major part of the Filipino culture and we have the capability to provide the best celebrations set in the most romantic locations with a variety of preferences,” he said.

Durano and other tourism officials also met with officers of Japanese media group Recruit Co. Ltd., which publishes Zexy Magazine, Japan’s leading bridal glossy magazine which is the top source of couples who opt for out-of-town and overseas weddings.

The tourism chief also revealed that talks have been ongoing to promote the Philippines as a destination for healthy food.

The DOT has partnered with the Japan Vegetable and Fruit Meister Association, a specialty food club that highlights good eating habits through educational programs, culinary schools, fresh produce retail stores and cafes.

There are currently close to 20,000 members or “meisters” across Japan, Durano said.

“We will also highlight the country’s tropical fruits such as mangoes and other organic products,” said Tourism Undersecretary for Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque Jr.

Japan is currently the third leading source of travelers to the Philippines. Arrivals from this country reached 185,431 between January and June, representing 11.5 percent of overall tourist traffic in the country.

Philippines now being pitched as wedding venue to tourists

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