WASHINGTON, D.C.—Filipino and Americans making plans for the coming summer break are being urged to take a second look at the Philippines and see why it is fast making a name for itself as an international holiday destination.
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. made the pitch for the Philippines in his remarks at the launching on 19 March of the 8th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) and the 1st NextGen Tour to the Philippines in July.
Ambassador Cuisia said that recent positive developments in the tourism sector in the Philippines are reason enough for Americans to see why it is more fun in the Philippines and for Filipinos to head back and rediscover their roots.
“I am pleased to note that the efforts of the Aquino Administration to revitalize the country’s travel and tourism industry have been recognized and acknowledged by the international community,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he expressed optimism that the number of tourist arrivals in the Philippines will exceed 4 million this year.
Ambassador Cuisia cited the 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that listed the Philippines as “the most improved country in the region, ranking 16th regionally and 82nd overall” out of the 140 economies covered by the study. The country jumped 12 spots, up from 94th in the last report in 2011.
The Philippines has also reaped a number of accolades from such publications as Conde Nast Traveller, the New York Times, and Travel & Leisure Magazine, which have cited the Philippines as a prime beach holiday destination.
He said China’s Oriental Morning Post named the Philippines as “Best Tourist Destination” in its annual World Travel-Special Trips awards while the Shanghai Morning Post identified the Philippines as the “Most Romantic Destination” in the world. Travel & Leisure’s ranked Discovery Shores in Boracay 55th in its list of “Top 100 Hotels in the World” in 2012 and also the eighth “Best Resort” in Asia.
“All of this reflects the upward trajectory of Philippine tourism and supports our national development goal of inclusive growth, as the expansion of our tourism sector creates jobs in the countryside and in the service sector where Filipinos have a distinct competitive advantage,” he said.
“We in the Embassy are doing our part through, among other things, promoting the 8th ACGTDT and the 1st NextGen Tour to the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “With that, I hope you will join me this July as a participant in the tours and help us promote these packages to friends and relatives.”
The program, which is now on its eighth year, was launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs, through its various posts in the United States and Canada, and the Department of Tourism during the term of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario as ambassador.
Philippine Tourism Representative Mitchell Dy said that since its inception in 2005, an estimated 3,000 people have participated in the program that features a four-day tour package that is highlighted by an audience with the President in Malacanang.
Dy said this year’s ACGTDT will run from July 9 to 12. It includes a four-night stay at the Edsa Shangrila in Pasig; daily meals with cultural show and entertainment; wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Park; audience with President Aquino followed by lunch at Malacanang Heroes Hall; running city tour of Manila and Makati; visit to Ayala Museum; and a trip to Tagaytay with lunch and fiesta activities.
She said extension and post-tours to Ilocos, Davao, Legazpi, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo, Bacolod, Kalibo, Boracay, Puerto Princesa, and Camarines Sur as well as a dive certification package and a Southern Luzon golf tour are available at an additional cost.
Running in parallel to the ACGTDT is the NextGen Tour that targets the next generation of US-based Filipino-Americans, particularly those with little or no exposure to the Philippines. This new program was developed by Roy and Naomi Estaris of The Travel Outlet, who are also Filipino Community leaders in Virginia Beach, as a joint project with the Philippine Embassy and Consulates throughout the US.
Estaris said the NextGen Tour includes a four-night stay at F1 Premier Hotel; daily breakfast; tour of Intramuros with cultural dinner show and gallery tour of Hall One of the Center for International Trade and Expositions and Missions (CITEM); four-day transfer service; and out-of-town lunch with choice of ultralight flying adventure, lahar safari tour with sand spa or snorkeling and island hopping tour.
She said Post-Island Tours with overnight Manila accommodation and complimentary one-way domestic airport transfer may be arranged. Also available are the optional JUSTGO Philippines Eco-Tourism Tour in Puerto Princesa or Bohol; the Adventure Tour in Sumilon, Cebu or Apo Island in Dumaguete; the Adventure Tour in Boracay Island.
For pricing, reservation and other questions, interested parties may contact for the 8th ACGTDT, telephone number 202-467-9398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; and, for the NextGen Tour, telephone numbers 888-700-0669 (toll free), 757-424-3311 or email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.###