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News & Updates

Destination of the Month: Dumaguete

Friday 3rd July 2015

Atmosphere Resort & Spa, Dauin

Dumaguete is a peaceful University town on the southeastern coast of Negros Oriental, in the central Visayas region of the Philippines. The city faces the island of Cebu to the east across the Tanon Strait, and Siquijor to the south east. The primary spoken language is Cebuano, and the predominant religious denomination is Roman Catholicism.

The area has become increasingly popular with tourists due to the excellent selection of beaches and dive sites, the delicious food, friendly people, and numerous outdoor activities such as dolphin watching, trekking, and cultural heritage sites.

There are numerous world-class dive sites in close proximity to Dumaguete, and many of the high-quality beach resorts also have their own in-house dive centers. Recommended resorts in the area include: Atmosphere Resort & Spa (our personal favorite, and excellent in all aspects), Atlantis Dive Resort Dumaguete, Thalatta Resort, and Pura Vida Beach & Dive Resort.

There are daily direct flights from Manila (MNL) to Dumaguete (DGT) via PAL and Cebu Pacific, as well as flights from Cebu to Dumaguete on Cebu Pacific. Ferries operate daily crossings from Tagbilaran to the port of Dumaguete, and the crossing takes approximately 2 hours.

Direct flights from Manila to Saipan (CNMI) by December 2015

Thursday 2nd July 2015

PAL flights to Saipan

We are delighted to confirm that Philippine Airlines is now making preparations to launch direct flights between Manila (Philippines) and Saipan (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, USA). This is a fantastic development for residents of both territories, and provides numerous new opportunities for international tourists to combine the two destinations into one holiday.

The Philippines and Saipan both offer world-class diving, excellent cultural and scenic attractions, beautiful tropical beaches, great shopping, excellent cuisine, and a shared heritage from the Second World War.

Direct flights between Manila and Saipan will also give Filipino expats working in Saipan a direct route home to visit their relatives, as well as a fast and convenient hub for all CNMI residents to visit South East Asia, Europe, and Australia.

Philippine Airlines plans to launch the new Manila-Saipan route by December 2015 twice weekly using a bi-class 156-seater Airbus A320.

Quick Review of Tourist Arrivals in our Region

Wednesday 1st July 2015

This year has seen a very good start for all of the countries in our core area of operations - the Philippines, Saipan (CNMI), Guam, and Palau:

The Philippines has recorded an impressive 7% increase in visitor arrivals during the first four months of 2015 (compared to the same period in the previous year). The key source region of East Asia - which includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea - has seen an increase of 7.81%... with the largest increases in arrivals coming from Taiwanese and Korean tourists. The source markets of Europe, Australia, India, North America and ASEAN also contributed positively to the growth in arrivals to the country for January – April 2015. The UK remains the strongest source market from Europe, whilst Singapore is the largest ASEAN source market for the Philippines.

Saipan and the entire Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have also seen a strong increase in arrivals so far this year. The performance of the China and Korea markets has been particularly impressive. Flights operated by Century Tours from Beijing to Saipan ran at an average of 99.5% load factor during the month of June.

Palau received 73,498 tourists in the first five months of this year, which puts them on track to comfortably surpass the visitor arrivals in 2014. China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the USA are the five largest source markets for Palau this year.

January to May 2015 arrivals for Guam also increased 2.7%, and further growth in arrivals is largely being restricted due to lack of hotel rooms on the island rather than a lack of demand. Arrivals from China grew by an impressive 40.9% in the period, thanks to new direct flights between Shanghai and Guam and increased awareness about the destination in China.

Hotel & Resort Developments

Wednesday 1st July 2015

Astoria Hotels and Resorts has opened Current By Astoria, a modern and trendy resort on Boracay Island's White beach. The resort, which is located at Station 3, has a lap pool, children's pool, gym, spa, a garden lounge area, a roof deck bar, and one restaurant. This is the hotel group's 8th establishment in the Philippines.

Marriott Manila has officially opened the Marriott Grand Ballroom – the Philippines’ largest ballroom. This new architectural marvel offers a total 8,000 square meters of function space with 28 versatile meeting spaces including 6 VIP sky boxes. The main ballroom is a 3,000 sqm pillarless venue that can easily accommodate 4,000 guests for cocktails and 2,500 for banquet set-up.

Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark in Cebu opened the Palace Casino on the 28th June 2015. The casino is open 24 hours a day.

The official opening of the Nobu Hotel at City of Dreams Manila was attended by Academy Award winning actor Robert De Niro and world-renowned Japanese culinary genius Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, joined a glittering array of entertainment stars, socialites and other VIP guests. Championed by Nobu Hospitality founding partners Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro and Hollywood producer Meir Teper, the 321-room trendsetting boutique Nobu Hotel delivers a thrilling, celebrity-inspired and ‘fun-luxury’ experience fused with the utmost quality to visitors to City of Dreams Manila, Melco Crown Entertainment’s new integrated casino resort at Entertainment City, Manila.

The Lind Boracay is scheduled to open its doors for the first time in the third quarter of 2015. The resort is located on Boracay’s Station 1, and will feature: 120 rooms and suites, more than five different bars and restaurants, lifestyle facilities, function spaces, and a ballroom that seats 300 guests.

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