Asia & The Far East
Personal touch helps keep Philippine tourism on track
Philippine Department of Tourism secretary, Richard J Gordon, indicated in a recent interview that he feels that personal visitations are necessary to make-up for the low department budget in order for Philippine tourism to compete in the market.Just in the past few months he has traveled across North America, Korea, China, Japan, and Europe in a mission to spearhead his department's campaign for next year called Visit Philippines 2003. So far, Gordon's efforts have resulted in a 40 per cent increase in Philippine tourism. He has also garnered the support of Filipinos living outside of the Philippines through the Volunteer 12 program, which calls upon Filipinos to bring at least one foreign visitor to the Philippines each year. Recently, Manila was host to the World Tourism Organization's meeting on anti-terrorism and tourism recovery. According to Gordon, 170 delegates attended the meeting from various parts of the world. All together the conference generated 13 different actions for the tourism safety resolution. Among the agreed plan of action include: Enhance the development and promotion of the Asia Pacific region as a single tourism destination with world-class standard facilities, services, and attractions; and foster cooperation among countries of the Asia Pacific region, national tourism organisations and the tourism industry, particularly airlines, hotels and resorts, travel agencies and tour operators, in marketing transnational tour packages, including the sub-regional growth areas. In addition, Gordon disclosed that the travel security concerns in the Philippines are under control. He claimed that PDOT has a program called 'My Country, My Responsibility' where travelers can register with the local authorities. Gordon further noted with regards to travel advisories that "the issuing authority should help the afflicted nation by helping them come up with the necessary programs to protect against these terrorists, so that we are not surrendering grounds to the terrorists."