THE Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Japanese Government’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLITT) inked a landmark agreement that is seen to expand opportunities for tourism development between the two countries.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco and MLITT Minister Tetsuo Saito signed the Memorandum of Cooperation for tourism, the first stand alone cooperation agreement between the two nations.
The contract was exchanged in the presence of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the latter’s first official visit to the Philippines from November 3 to 4.
Under the cooperation agreement, both countries agreed to strengthen and further develop Philippines-Japan ties in the field of tourism by increasing tourist arrivals for both countries from world tourist-generating markets; encouraging more tourists to visit various tourist destinations and attractions, including rural areas in each other’s country; encouraging mutual visits and traffic of high-value-added travelers to increase tourism consumption; encouraging healthy growth of tourism industry of Philippines and Japan especially on the aspects of education, culture, gastronomy, sustainable tourism, and adventure.
“With the signing of this landmark Memorandum of Cooperation on Tourism under the Marcos Administration, the Philippines’ bilateral relations with Japan is strengthened as we anticipate that this will exponentially expand tourism opportunities with the Japanese, which is one of our top source markets. This shall also usher in further tourism development in the fields of sustainability, air and sea connectivity, education, human capital development, culture, gastronomy, nature and adventure, which shall increase tourism revenues for our stakeholders, usher in more tourism investments, and create more jobs for our fellow Filipinos, as envisioned by our President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.,” Frasco said.
Japan is considered as one of the country’s top source of visitors ranking third as of November 2, 2023, with nearly a quarter of a million arrivals into the Philippines.
Additionally, both countries will engage in the exchange of information on matters related to the industry; education and training; ensure means of mutual traffic through the enhancement of air and sea connectivity, and joint promotional programs, as well as enhance transport connectivity to sustain people-to-people exchange and the influx of travelers, and ensure tourist safety.
The Philippines and Japan also agreed to cooperate in terms of ensuring safety among tourists while they are staying in their respective countries.
A joint working group composed of senior officials from the DOT and MLITT will be convened for the proper implementation of the MOC which will run for five years and is subject for renewal.
As may be recalled, the Philippines and Japan formally established diplomatic relations in July 1956.