MANILA, Philippines — Three pairs from among Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) 300,000 followers on Twitter were rewarded with round-trip tickets and hotel accommodations during the flag carrier’s inaugural flight to Bali, Indonesia on Saturday night.
All of the more than 130 pre-qualified contestants — who were picked by joining a “Rally to Bali” Twitter contest launched by PAL early this week — already had their bags packed and passports ready as the winners would be whisked to the airport and straight to Indonesia that same night.
The promotion was meant to formally open PAL’s new twice-a-week route to Bali, part of the airline’s expansion into new destinations this year.
In the end, the following Twitter users emerged victorious, and is currently enjoying their three-day stay at the luxurious tourist destination, all care of PAL: Vittorio Lloyd Salag, who won third place; Ella Molina, who won second place; and Diana Ramos, who won the grand prize of a business-class flight to the Indonesian getaway.
PAL Vice President for Marketing Bong Cruz said they hope to increase their passenger count this year with the opening of the new Bali route, especially since many Filipinos have shown interest in spending their holidays in the popular Indonesian destination.
“We believe that [this could increase our passengers] since Bali is something different. It’s a popular holiday destination,” Cruz told InterAksyon.com.
Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Kristiarto S. Legowo told the audience during the “Rally to Bali” draw at the SM Mall of Asia on Saturday that Bali, for most Filipinos, is a “so near yet so far” dream since not many airlines fly direct to the island from the country.
“I’m very certain that this year onwards, with the opening of Manila to Bali, more and more Filipinos to grab the opportunity to visit one of Indonesia’s pride — Bali,” Legowo said.
The Indonesian diplomat said the Bali Tourism Board has already pegged 3-million foreign tourist arrivals to the place in 2012. In 2011, Legowo revealed that less than 10 percent of the total arrivals came from the Philippines, which he said would hopefully change with the new PAL route.
Cruz, meanwhile, said the twice-a-week flights to Bali could be increased to thrice a week should demand pick up in the coming weeks.
“We’re just going to watch how it picks up. Because if it’s two flights a week, medyo hindi maganda yung spread. So kung gagawin mong tatlo, mas maganda ang spread (the distribution may not be that good. If we make it three, It would be better),” he added.
The PAL executive said they decided to hold the promotion over Twitter this time since most of their targeted passengers for the route are the young travelers looking to get their taste of first international travel.
Bali has been recognized as a top tourist destination not only in Asia but in the whole world for the past several years.
The place, known for its mystic and quiet appeal, has been featured in the best-selling memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” of writer Elizabeth Gilbert, which was then turned into the movie of the same name starring Hollywood actress Julia Roberts.