Friday, March 22, 2013


Philippine officials in the United States are making a concerted push to entice Filipino Americans to visit the country and see why “it’s more fun in the Philippines”.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. cited “efforts of the Aquino administration to revitalize the country’s travel and tourism industry” that could bring in over 5 million visitors this year. He delivered the remarks at the launching of the 8th Ambassadors, Consuls 

General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) as well as the first-ever NextGen Tour which is directed mostly to young, 2nd generation Fil-Ams, this July.

He noted a report by the World Economic Forum that singled the Philippines as “most improved country in the region” for travel and tourism, jumping 12 rungs up the 140-nation yardstick. He also ticked off various publications extolling the beauty of the country’s top tourist destinations.

“All of this reflects the upward trajectory of Philippine tourism and supports our national development goal of inclusive growth,” Cuisia said, “as the expansion of our tourism sector creates jobs in the countryside and in the service sector where Filipinos have a distinct competitive advantage.”

Cuisia had earlier lamented that more Koreans visit the Philippines, urging Fil-Ams to help boost the country by visiting regularly and rekindling their roots.

Tourism could be the next big economic engine for the Philippines as it tries to reap the benefits of nearly year-round sunshine, white-sand beaches, the people’s innate hospitality and relative peace the past couple of years.

Cuisia, who has yet to falter on the economic predictions he’s wont to dish out to DC-based journalists, believes tourist arrivals in the Philippines could surpass 5 million this year.

One government study shows tourism sustains up to 70 percent of major retail stores and 21 percent of restaurants. The World Travel & Tourism Council reported it directly or indirectly employs nearly 4 million people, nearly 10 percent of the Philippines labor force. Tourism comprises nearly 9 percent of the Philippine’s gross domestic product. The Department of Tourism in Manila is projecting revenues to reach nearly P2 trillion (about $47 billion) by 2016.

Reports from Manila point to a good start this year, with arrivals in January up 6 percent (to 436,000 arrivals) over the same period last year.

Much of that was driven by traffic from Seoul (nearly 135,000) compared to the almost 66,000 arrivals from the US, the 2nd biggest tourist market for the Philippines.

“We in the Embassy are doing our part,” Cuisia said. “I hope you will join me this July as a participant in the tours and help us promote these packages to friends and relatives.”

Some 3,000 Fil-Ams have joined past ACGTDT outings, which offer an audience with the President at the Malacanang Palace as one of the come-ons.

But what is more promising is the NextGen Tour, a novel program developed by VA Beach-based Roy and Naomi Estaris who run The Travel Outlet. It’s designed to draw young Fil-Ams who’ve never been to the Philippines and want to re-connect with their heritage.

The package includes cultural shows, a lahar safari tour, ultralight flying adventure and of course, island-hopping (after all, there are over 7,000 of them ). And for a few extra bucks, they can jump aboard a plane to Puerto Princesa (Palawan) or Bohol or Apo Island (Negros) or the country’s bikini-jetsetter’s destination, Boracay.

1 comment:

  1. it is really more fun in the Philippines! it has lots of attractions and fun filling adventures! plus, if you will be smart enough you could save more. esp if you are travelling with discount vouchers!

    online deals