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Rajah Travels rises from pandemic to mark 50 years in tourism

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By Alithea De Jesus

Who would have thought that fifty years ago, the couple, Jose and Alejandra Clemente’s business idea would become a household name in the tourism country of the Philippines?

The Clemente couple decided to start their very own travel agency and named it “Rajah,” a word used to address the highest rank in the Philippine society during the pre-colonial period. Perhaps, to the younger generation, the word Rajah is not a familiar word to them. But the couple deliberately chose the name Rajah, and embrace it to be a part of their culture and values by ensuring the quality of service they commit to provide its customers, that is, with royalty and grandness!

Back in 1972, the Philippines was a “goldmine” of tourist attractions that only a few have known of. Rajah assumed its role as the government pushed for several projects to enhance the potential of the country’s tourism industry. It was at the forefront in making the Philippines known to other countries as a tourist destination as it first capitalized in inbound tourism. Its hearty and sincere efforts of preserving and promoting the Philippine culture along with the liberalization of entry of tourists into the country, eventually paved way for the business to have its big break. Rajah warmly welcomed tourists from nearby countries, mostly from Japan and Hongkong, and of course, catered to our “Balikbayans” coming from the United States.  

Needless to say, Rajah became the face of the Philippine tourism and hospitality industry, serving every guest with natural cheerfulness, warmth, sincerity and care that leave an indelible mark in the memories of those people they served.

Rajah Travel Corporation (RTC) was incorporated separately in 1992 as a BSP/IATA travel agency originally to concentrate on outbound ticketing and reservations, wholesaling of tour packages, and consolidating for airlines. From then on, Rajah Travel has served as the catalyst for Filipinos to dream of seeing the world, offering world-class destinations and premium vacations, both to the leisure and corporate market. It partnered with The Travel Corporation (TTC) and has already established world-renowned travel brands like Insight Vacations and Contiki, two of the biggest motorcoach operators in Europe, as well as Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.

Through the years, Rajah Travel marketed these brands all over the Philippines as a General Sales Agent. Furthermore, since 1995, Rajah Travel operates Carlson Wagonlit Philippines, a part of the CWT global network, managing business travel, meetings and events, serving organizations of all sizes.  

Rajah Travel continued achieving its success under the leadership of the youngest child of the Clementes, Aileen C. Clemente. Over the years it has transformed into a full-service travel company that also engages business in various travel-related activities: Leisure travel; Corporate Travel Management;  Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions (MICE) Travel, Event Management; Documentation Services; Travel Shop; Tourism Property Management; Travel  Academy, and Tourism Knowledge Center.  

Stewardship 

At the heart of Rajah, is the core value of stewardship. Not only displayed within the company but also in its advocacies around its different tourism projects. 

Since 2015, the Rajah Travel Corporation has been working with the Palawan Liberation Task Force to highlight the historical value of the Palawan Province and the key role it played in World War II. RTC worked with communities to uncover or rediscover lost pieces of history. After thorough research, they were able to install historical markers around the province and they have as well honored veterans and their families during its yearly ceremony. This paved the way for Rajah Travel to create tour packages for both inbound and domestic tourism that are curated to highlight these historical and cultural attractions in various provinces in the country. 

RTC also marked its presence in the global arena as the only member of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in the Philippines, actively partaking in raising awareness globally on the issues concerning the travel and tourism industry. In pursuit of the same advocacy in its own country, RTC strengthened its ties with the national and local government, as well as with the private sector including the academe, to establish the Tourism Knowledge Center which envisions to provide a wealth of data, analysis, trends and thematic investigations and study on the various sectors and issues of the tourism industry. It also ventured into providing management services for various tourism sites to assist them in the improvement of their data collection and management system. This is alongside Rajah’s commitment to promoting these sites as well to its global audience. 

Refiner’s Fire 

Rajah Travel Corporation operations like most in the tourism industry was not spared from the adverse effect of COVID in 2020.  There is no denying that many businesses have closed down because of the pandemic while others are still struggling how to keep their business afloat and hopefully recover sooner.

Needless to say, many amongst us have already thrown in the towel, seemingly stuck in the fatalistic outlook and got caught with the paralysis-analysis of how to deal with the ‘uncharted territory’ of the coronavirus pandemic. Great leaders accept the challenge and that is to take on an action plan that anticipates the worst and prepares us for it.

Truly, there’s no perfect way to handle this extraordinary situation which, by all indications, is beyond our control. But one thing that the Rajah Travel Corporation showed under the tutelage of Aileen is by refusing to embrace a defeatist attitude. Her leadership provided a strong mindset that treads against the worst-case scenario and that is what Filipino resiliency is all about.

Rajah Travel believes that the pandemic is like a refiner’s fire, for both the industry and Rajah Travel. It’s just another step of the whole process of purifying gold, allowing it to achieve its purest form under the heat of a fire. For Rajah, the past 2 years have presented an opportunity to innovate and improve further. It gave birth to the Travel Academy, a program that is first of its kind in the industry, offering online internship opportunities for tourism and hospitality management students at the comfort of their homes. RTC set up this Remote  Practicum Program to support educators and academe professionals in preparing the future leaders of the tourism industry by letting the aspirants experience the different parts and processes involved in running a travel business.  

The Golden Year Celebration 

The journey that has brought Rajah into its 50th year is both humbling and something to be proud of. Nevertheless, despite the continued threat of COVID 19, this occasion proved to be worth celebrating because of the collective efforts of Rajah’s local partners, as well as the support of their loyal clients that carried them through all the adversities encountered throughout the years.  

Rajah Travel Corporation will continue to celebrate this feat and gear up to announce its lineup of activities In the celebratory kick-off, big discounts that will welcome the coming of the year of the tiger. Games and raffles are something to watch out for on their social media platforms throughout the year. The game mechanics and the prizes will surely bring out the fun side and competitive side of everyone, even while at home. 

Moreover, Rajah Travel, having been able to adapt already to the new normal and technology of conducting online events, will likewise resume its product launches and its very own annual selling event, the Destination Finder (DF). DF will be ran running for the 3rd time, on the 3rd quarter of the year 2022, to help guests plan their trips for the following year, 2023.  

In all of these, is a clear affirmation and commitment that Rajah will continue thriving and will continue to be with you on your journey as you have been with them through the years. 

To know more about Rajah and to get assistance for your dream travel with your family or loved loved ones, please contact visit Rajah Travel website at www.rajahtravel.com, email marketing@rajahtravel.com. You may also follow Rajah Travel Facebook Page Facebook.com/rajahtravel and Instagram @rajahtravel_com

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