Thursday, 11 October 2012

Visa head sees foreigners spending big in PH

Iain Jamieson … leaps and bounds
INBOUND spending by foreign Visa cardholders continues to grow at a double-digit rate as the Philippines’ new tourism campaign reaches more countries. 

In a chance interview, Visa country manager for the Philippines, Guam and Northern Pacific Islands Iain Jamieson says that a little over US$2 billion was spent on Visa cards that were issued abroad and used in the country from August 2011 to August 2012, an expansion of 11 per cent from year-before level. 

He says that the tourism department’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign contributed to the strong inbound spending by foreign cardholders during the period. 

Philippine embassies and consulates have been spreading the Filipino brand since its launch in January this year.
“Inbound spending is up … I’m a firm believer that the campaign by the Department of Tourism has something to do with that,” the Visa chief adds. 

“As more countries get to see the campaign, more and more people are going to come,” he further adds. 

According to Jamieson, Visa’s top five largest foreign spenders as of end-August came from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom. 

“Everyone of those markets is either growing very high single digit like eight to nine percent or when you’re looking at the UK and Australian markets they are growing 20 to 30 percent year on year in spending,” he says. 

Inbound spending from foreign Visa cardholders is expected to accelerate in the next months as the Christmas season kicks off. 

Jamieson, however, notes a slowdown in foreigners’ spending in the country from July until the start of September given the weather disturbances during the period. 

“It comes back very strongly in the ‘Ber’ months and in the Christmas period when more balikbayans are coming home. The weather is extremely good at Christmastime so you’re getting a lot of tourists coming in,” he says. 

“At 11 per cent at this point in the year, I would be very surprised if it was anything lower than 11 percent for the full year. We might even see the numbers pick up to 13 to 14 per cent,” Jamieson adds. - Inquirer

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