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TRAVEL CAFÉ PHILIPPINES: An Innovation in Tourism Promotion.

Secretary of Tourism Joseph “Ace” Durano.

To travel to the Philippines you do not have to go to a travel agent. You could go to a café……….Travel café Philippines………have a nice cup of coffee together with pandesal, look at the wonders of the Philippines, ask questions and text your travel agent to book you a ticket. No hard selling here. It’s your heart that would now make the decision. Indeed, this idea is a world’s first and will be an award winning project in worldwide tourism.

Entering a café can now become your journey to the Philippines. The first ever destination-themed Lifestyle Café, Travel Café Philippines (TCP) had its Grand Launch in Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center in Makati City on December 18, 2007 with a preview of the first TCP prototype in the same venue.

The revolutionary concept of the TCP project is a pioneering “branding initiative” for tourism promotions of the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT). This has been created to provide its diners with a sip of authentic Philippine Coffee, a taste of local cuisine, an online booking facility to travel around the country, a treat to Filipino music great and design ingenuity of local artists, and a magnificent experience of the Philippines. Indeed, TCP has been established as the perfect venue to celebrate the rich and diverse Filipino culture and lifestyle.

Spearheaded by the dynamic Philippine Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano, the DOT and the TCP’s objective is to develop a unique and creative alternative to market the country abroad. Secretary Durano considers the project as his Blue Ocean, a term from a strategic marketing book referring to developing uncontested market space in order to achieve growth.

Inspired by the success of the first Travel Café Philippines in Tokyo, Japan, Secretary Durano believes that franchising TCP will create an outstanding global “brand” for the country. Trendy, up-market areas in key cities or in Central Business Districts will be the priority tourism targets of the DOT. The project’s utmost aim is to establish permanent Philippine presence in high visibility locations, which should be primarily accessible to tourist customers. This will target working professionals who have the interest, propensity and capacity to travel.

Aside from the newly launched TCP in Greenbelt 5, another prototype will open it doors in SM Mall of Asia and the SMX Convention and Exhibition Center at the bay area in Manila in January 2008. To fully strengthen the brand and capture the target markets abroad, future endeavors include opening TCPs in New Delhi, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Dubai, Singapore and San Francisco, California by 2008.

Travel Café Philippines’ philosophy is coffee, travel and more… This philosophy revolves around the idea of promoting Philippine Coffee, encouraging travel to the Philippines and engaging people to experience what’s “more” on the country.

Who wouldn’t love to taste the rich, elegant Philippine Coffee served with a yummy pandesal [Filipino style bread roll] as its perfect companion? Indisputably, great tasting coffees can only come from the Philippines. The travel-themed Café will offer a distinctly Filipino beverage menu in support of organically grown Philippine Coffee from the different provinces of the country such as the Batangas Premium Barako Blend, Bukidnon Monk’s Blend, Mount Matutum Coffee, and Cordillera Mountains Coffee.

TCP will also introduce one of the rarest and most expensive types of coffee in the world, the Coffee Alamid (Philippine Civet Coffee). The Café is committed to supporting Fair Trade, which ensures that every coffee bean served and sold comes from local coffee farmers who were given the best price for their produce.

Also, TCP will treat their diners to its fine dining menu of authentic traditional Filipino cuisine served exquisitely to suit international tastes. The Food Menu will offer a limited but exclusive selection of soups, salads, pasta dishes, full course meals, and desserts. To create the TCP’s signature menu, Makati Skyline Inc., one of the premier names in the food and beverage industry was commissioned by TCP to help in the project.

To add a magical Pinoy twist in each local menu, Makati Skyline Executive Chef Michel Le Teuff, who has worked in the kitchens of Four Seasons Hotel, Sheraton International, now heads the Kitchen Crew of the Travel Café Philippines. His love for the rich flavorful taste of Filipino food has inspired him to create a totally appetizing world-class menu. Furthermore, the dinnerware and tableware used were especially made for the TCP by ceramic artists like Lanelle Abueva Fernandez and Clemens Wirth in order to enhance the presentation of the TCP menu items.

But what makes TCP different from other cafés?

The advent of a Travel Shop right inside the Café makes TCP unique. It will provide travel information on the Philippines and a convenient facility for travel bookings to the country. Either for leisure or for business trips, anyone will surely find his way and get lured to the beautiful destinations of the Philippines as the full-time Travel Concierge manning the Travel Shop will answer all their queries about traveling, dining, shopping, etc. in the country. TCP will ensure that every inquiry from the customers will be converted into actual bookings to the Philippines.

A Travel Library will be available as well to offer an extensive collection of reference materials on the Philippines such as maps, coffee table books, and guidebooks, among others.

Moreover, TCP will carry an exclusive line of merchandise available for sale to anyone. This includes: the Coffee Alamid, Philippine books, TCP Travel Music Menu by Sony BMG Philippines, signature ceramic art pieces and dinnerware, and limited edition TCP T-shirts.

A LOOK INTO TCP’s HISTORY

The brilliant concept behind TCP started in September 22, 2005 when it was introduced by Mr. Kazuyuki Goto of Travel Café Co., Ltd. (a Japanese company specializing in the operation of travel-themed cafes all over Japan) to the Philippine Department of Tourism. Months after, DOT and Travel Café Co., Ltd. signed a memorandum of agreement for the establishment of a Travel Café Philippines in Tokyo.

In July 25, 2006, the very first Travel Café Philippines opened in Iidabashi, Tokyo, Japan. From its opening day, TCP in Tokyo has continuously received overwhelmingly positive response from the Japanese market. Secretary Durano recognizes this tremendous success and this has led him to expand the TCP into a franchise business model operating it here in the country and abroad. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Together with the DOT’s Project Team from the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation (PCVC), headed by Ms. Rosvi Gaetos, the Department of Tourism has partnered with TravelnCuisine (TnC) Philippines, Inc., a company founded by two of the leaders in the food and beverage industry, Makati Skyline, Inc. (headed by Ms. Erlinda Sunico) and Travel Café Co. Ltd. Japan (headed by Mr. Kazuyuki Goto) to manage and operate Travel Café Philippines. TCP engages in strategic partnerships with private entities to further strengthen and build the brand.

And to assist in the development of the Travel Café Philippines Operations Manual, the Department of Tourism commissioned the leading Franchise consultancy firm in the country, the International Franchise Corporation of the Philippines (FRANCOPH). Their task is to set the standards for all the operational aspects of TCP such as the architectural and interior design, food and beverage menu, criteria for the selection of TCP partners, among others.

CONCEIVING THE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

Celebrating Filipino heritage and lifestyle will never be complete without showcasing the brilliance of the country’s artistry and craftsmanship. With the aid of world renowned Interior Designer Budji Layug and Architect Royal Pineda who lead TCP’s Design Team, the Travel Café Philippines’ design philosophy of a signature Filipino visual look—being trendy, stylish, up-market yet distinctly Filipino—has now been completely realized.

TCP has been transformed into a one grandiose masterpiece integrating a mix of historical pieces and indigenous materials. Their concept is to make use of three elements into the TCP’s Total Design Approach: bamboo, weave (sinamay [woven abaca fiber] and sawali [slices of bamboo that are manually woven]), and the ancient Filipino calligraphy “Baybayin.”

People can move around freely inside the Travel Café Philippines as this boasts of an expansive area where everyone can enjoy, relax and chill out. Everyone will now get a glimpse of traditional Philippine materials transformed into uniquely modern designs.

THE VISION

After the huge success of Travel Café Philippines in Tokyo, Japan and the newly launched prototype in Greenbelt 5, TCP is now geared up to expand not only in the country but also worldwide. To achieve rapid global expansion, TCP continues its quest in seeking potential Business Partners here and abroad. The TCP Franchise Business Model aims to establish a replicable model that is 80% Filipino and 20% International; 60% coffee shop and 40% Philippine travel.

Committed to providing great food, world-class coffee and exceptional customer service, Travel Café Philippines will undoubtedly soon becomes a strong, successful global brand. The world can now experience the rich heritage and true Filipino identity of the Philippines in a totally new light through the unique travel-themed café concept of the Travel Café Philippines.

New Delhi here we come.
Congratulations to Secretary Durano and all those involved in this project.

 


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