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Philippines and China ink tourism deal

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MANILA, 11 January 2023: The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and its counterpart Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China signed an Implementation Programme for bilateral tourism cooperation last week, just days before China removed travel restrictions

Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco signed the Implementation Program (IP) on Tourism Cooperation with People’s Republic of China Culture and Tourism Minister Hu Heping in the presence of Philippine President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr and PRC President Xi Jinping.

Photo Credit: DOT Philippines.

The ceremonial signing was one of the highlights of the three-day state visit of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. in the Chinese capital Beijing, where Frasco is one of the Cabinet officials who joined the President.

“We are grateful for China’s commitment and interest in partnering with the Philippines as we usher in this new era of tourism focused on building the industry into a stronger, more sustainable, and more resilient economic pillar for the country’s transformation into a tourism powerhouse in Asia,” Frasco said.

“This Implementation Programme with China will generate massive employment opportunities and investments across all tourism sectors throughout the Philippines. Our governments will work together on increasing tourist arrivals, resuming and adding direct flights to key and emerging destinations, joint promotional activities, and inviting tourism investments in infrastructure, among others,” explained Secretary Frasco.

Under the five-year cooperation, both countries agreed to encourage and support the exchange of their respective administrators and tourism professionals to strengthen the mutual development in the field of hotels, resorts, cruise, port, tourism products, and other related industries and competency standards.

It also covered cooperation on tourism safety, where both parties will make joint measures to guarantee the rights, interests, and safety of tourists visiting each other’s country.

Local tour operators and travel agencies will also participate in the IP by jointly advertising both countries through promotional materials by highlighting significant attractions and destinations and enhancing public information exchange.

Collaborative workshops and training sessions will be conducted, covering topics including cruise/port development, tourism products and lake development, understanding the tourism market and industry, search and rescue operations for first-aid measures, and security measures.

Both the Philippines and China are expected to support each other’s tourism departments and enterprises in holding travel fairs, tourism exhibitions and other promotion initiatives, to inform the travelling public about their products and services.

“Also among the salient points of this Implementation Programme is to advocate the best practices and knowledge in sustainable tourism, including promoting eco-friendly products and services. We will also encourage investments in tourism infrastructure and support tourism enterprises of both countries to cooperate in developing tourism projects in accordance with the current laws and regulations in each other’s countries,” explained Secretary Frasco.

A technical working group composed of officials from the DOT and China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China will meet at least once a year or whenever necessary to further discuss the implementation covered in the agreement.

In 2019, the Philippines recorded 8.26 million international visitor arrivals. China was the second top tourist market, with 1.74 million arrivals. In 2022, just 30,002 Chinese tourists entered the country.

Last week the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration reported visitor arrivals in 2022 had more than quadrupled to tally 6,125,841 arrivals, up 337% from the 1.4 million arrivals reported by the bureau for 2021. In 2020 the country totalled 3.6 million arrivals.

China ended its anti-Covid-19 controls and resumed issuing passports for tourism on 8 January 2023.

(Source: Philippines Department of Tourism)

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