US-PH to collaborate on tourism

March 24, 2023 Cristina Lee-Pisco 250 views

THE United States (US) and the Philippines are looking into possible collaboration, including capacity building of tourism frontlines, sharing of information, and best practices of sustainable tourism.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Marykay L. Carlson on Thursday met with Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco in a courtesy visit at the DOT Head Office in Makati.

The cordial meeting between the Ambassador and the DOT secretary provided several points of possible collaboration on tourism between the US and the Philippines.

Frasco raised the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries.

“I would like to formalize our intention to have a memorandum of cooperation with the United States so that we may be able to institutionalize the means by which we could work together, especially in terms of new means of capacity building of our tourism frontliners, exchange of information, and best practices,” said the tourism chief.

In the course of their discussion, Carlson broached the idea of “History Tourism,” which she said could have a potential market in the US cognizant of the role played by Americans in the Philippines during World War II.

Frasco shared with the Ambassador the DOT’s strategies to entice more tourists to come to the country, which include digitalization through the tourist lifecycle app, increasing connectivity to secondary airports in the country to provide easier access to destinations, as well as ensuring tourists’ safety through close collaboration with agencies of the government mandated to ensure peace and order in the country.

The DOT chief took the opportunity to invite Carlson to join the “Philippine Experience” program of the DOT, where the Department offers not only sites and places of interest but also the experience of colorful festivals, gastronomic delights, as well as “warm smiles and hospitality of the Filipino.”

Toward the end of the meeting, the possible enhancement of Philippine Medical Tourism was also brought into the discussion.

In 2019, the United States of America was the third largest source of foreign arrivals for the Philippines, with 1.06 million visitors. Meanwhile, in 2022, the US was the top tourist market of the Philippines, with 505,089 arrivals.

For January to March 22, 2023, the DOT recorded 231,327 arrivals from the US.