Travel agencies eye tie-up with Korean counterparts

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    The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is seeking to formalize an agreement with the Korean Association of Travel Agents (KATA) where both sides will commit to only deal with accredited travel agencies and tour operators by their associations.

    In his presentation during the Korea Tourism Organization travel webinar, PTAA president Ritchie Tuaño said this first-of-a-kind same-level international partnership would boost operations of travel agencies which expect to slowly resume operations in the coming months.

    Tuaño said South Korea is a prime consideration because of the volume of tourist traffic from both sides.

    Tuaño said the MOU can cover standardized tour costing based on itineraries, recommended list of destinations per travel segment, and the setting up of a complaints and grievance committee.

    The PTAA is also pushing for 100- percent visa free entry to South Korea.

    Currently, Filipinos are allowed visa-free entry to Jeju Island. There is also the new five-day visa entry for Filipino tourists who enter through a major city and exit through Jeju Island.

    “While we commend the maximum five-day visa free entry, both our governments must work on a complete visa free entry,” Tuaño said citing the Taiwan model which after giving visa free entry in 2017 has seen a rapid increase in Filipino tourists.

    Koreans in topped tourist arrivals in the country with 1.99 million in 2019, the 10th straight year.

    Meanwhile, 503,867 Filipino tourists visited South Korea last year making it the 8th biggest market after China, Japan, Taiwan, United States of America, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Vietnam.