Monday, April 03, 2006

Learning from our Southeast Asian neighbors

I will be flying in a while to KL from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark. This is my transition post of sorts. Hehe! From backpacking in the country, it's time to visit our Southeast Asian neighbors and see what they are doing right. The plan is, from KL, I will take a bus to Singapore and back, after which I will take an AirAsia flight to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. From there, I travel by bus to Siem Reap to visit the temples of Angkor.

From Siem Reap, it's another bus to Bangkok in Thailand from where I will take another bus to Vientiane in Laos. A few hours north is the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang. Then its back to Bangkok where I take an AirAsia flight back to KL and back to Clark. Let's see how things go.

I purchased the Lonely Planet book Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, and from the data I read, we can see why the Philippines is doing badly with regard to visitor arrivals. To Secretary Durano and our policy makers in the DOT, the advertising is good but unless we sit down with the tourism industry players and work out ways to lower costs of traveling here in the country, the funds spent for advertising would be a waste. At the same time, target backpackers. They are the reason behind the bustling tourism industry in Southeast Asia.

Please see the data below of the average daily budget spent traveling in Southeast Asian countries. I'm not surprised that Brunei Darussalam is at the top, and so is Singapore since the cost of living there is quite high. I'm also not surprised that East Timor is on top since they do not have the necessary tourism infrastructure to bring costs down since they are just a new nation. But the Philippines having the same cost as Singapore?! Hmmm, now Mr. Secretary, that is something we have to consider.

Budget per day (US$)
Brunei Darussalam: 30 to 50
East Timor: 25 to 25
Philippines: 25
Singapore: 25
Vietnam: 23
Indonesia: 15 to 30
Cambodia: 15
Myanmar: 12 to 20
Malaysia: 12
Thailand: 11 to 15
Laos: 10
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