MANILA, Philippines -- It’s business as usual at the Department of Tourism (DoT), more driven and motivated perhaps – fueled by the enthusiasm and passion of its new secretary – and still delivering, as usual, on the tourism front.
Here are the highlights of the DoT’s roadmap for the year until 2012:
Miss Universe. The most exciting news is that Sec. Ramon Jimenez met with Gabby Lopez of ABS-CBN recently about the country’s hosting of the Miss Universe beauty contest.
The Philippines first hosted the Miss Universe pageant in 1974. It was held at the Folk Arts Theater and Amparo Munoz of Spain was crowned as Miss Universe. The country hosted it a second time in 1994 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where Sushmita Sen of India won the crown. The Miss Universe pageant is the most popular beauty contest in the world with global viewership estimated at 600 million.
PATA 2012. Another positive development as reported by Sec. Jimenez is the hosting of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart next year. The Philippine delegation to the 2011 PATA Travel Mart in New Delhi, India included Undersecretary Danny Corpuz, Assistant Secretary Chicoy Enerio, Dir. Betty Nelle, Stanie Soriano and Tina Flores.
They met with PATA Interim CEO Bill Calderwood and briefed him about preparations for next year’s hosting. According to Corpuz, the country expects to have 2,500 additional hotel rooms in Manila and Cebu by then. Hotels along Roxas Boulevard, airports and even terminals are going through major facelifts. A new multi-purpose hall with a seating capacity of 20,000 persons called the Arena beside SMX at the Mall of Asia complex is already 85 percent complete and expected to be available by May 2012.
Corpuz also secured the assistance of PATA for the major markets of the Philippines to be reflected in the representation of buyers and markets to be invited. Calderwood also promised to reserve 30 percent of slots for Philippine sellers to give them ample possibilities to negotiate with foreign buyers.
Corpuz stressed that the organizing committee for the 2012 PATA Travel Mart is a perfect example of how private public partnership works to benefit the greater good. Active in planning and preparations are officers of Philippine Tour Operators Association (PhilTOA), Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMA), Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibit Organizers and Suppliers (PACEOS), PATA Philippine chapter and Philippine air carriers led by Philippine Airlines (PAL).
The 2012 PATA Travel Mart is scheduled to take place September 25-28 at the SMX Convention Center, the largest private venue in the Philippines and one of the flagship establishments of the country’s MICE industry. It is conveniently located near prestigious hotels and key public transportation systems.
45th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank. Manila will also be the site of the ADB Board of Governors Meeting next year. This annual meeting will be held from May 2 – 5, 2012. In the agenda are a range of issues related to economic and social progress for Asia and the Pacific.
Visa upon arrival. A technical working group composed of tourism, foreign affairs, and immigration officials was formed to fast track the issuance of procedures to relax visa policies related to the Visa Upon Arrival recommendation of several sectors.
While in India, the DoT and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) officials discussed with Philippine Ambassador Ronald Allarey the visa upon arrival recommendation for Indian nationals. Allarey advised the group to make strong representations with the Department of Foreign Affairs so this can finally be realized.
The first half of 2011 saw a substantial increase of 50 percent in arrivals from the Indian continent ever since the four flights a week service of PAL.