target mainstream Americans in tourism drive
By OVP Media
May 6, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The
Philippines should take advantage of the goodwill generated by the
recent visit to Manila of President Barack Obama as well as the recent
upgrade in the safety rating of the aviation sector to convince more
Americans to visit the country.
Vice President Jejomar C.
Binay issued the statement after the Philippine Embassy in Washington,
D.C. said it drew more than 6,000 visitors after it opened its doors
to the public on Saturday as part of the annual Passport DC Around the
World Embassy Tour.
Judging by what Ambassador
Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. described as the overwhelming number of visitors
who came to experience Filipino culture, the Vice President said the
Department of Tourism should take advantage of this interest among
mainstream Americans to get more of them to visit the Philippines.
The Vice President noted
that while Americans are on top of the list of foreign visitors, with
a total of 642,626 arriving from the US last year, these are mostly
balikbayans spending their holidays in the Philippines.
“The men and women of our
Embassy in Washington, D.C. did a very commendable job in letting
hundreds of Americans know why we say it’s more fun in the
Philippines,” the Vice President said. “We need to do more of this, we
need to be more creative in attracting more foreign tourists to visit
He noted that the Embassy,
which was participating in the event for the first time, was expecting
only 3,000 visitors but as it turned out a record 6,105 people, mostly
Americans and other nationalities, came to see the dance, classical
music and martial arts performances and also have a taste of Filipino
cuisine such as lechon, pancit and lumpia.
“This and the tremendous
goodwill generated by the recent visit of President Obama as well as
the granting of Category 1 status offer opportunities for exponential
growth for Philippine tourism,” Vice President Binay said.
“These opportunities must be
matched by an intensive airport rehabilitation and modernization
program as well as the expansion of existing flight routes of
Philippine carriers and the opening of new routes to non-traditional
destinations,” he said.
With the recent safety
upgrade by the Federal Aviation Administration, Philippine Airlines is
expected to open new routes to New York and Chicago while Cebu Pacific
is reportedly considering flying to Hawaii and the West Coast.
The Vice President said he
hopes the Department of Tourism could provide additional support to
the Embassy for next year’s Around the World Embassy Tour organized
every year by the District of Columbia Cultural Tourism Office.
The Vice President, at the
same time, thanked the US-Philippines Society for its efforts in
raising the profile of the Philippines in the US through, among
others, cultural initiatives such as the performances in New York and
Washington, D.C. of the Bayanihan Dance Company and the Madrigal
He also thanked the
US-Philippines Society for organizing the After the Storm Concert
benefit concert for victims of Typhoon Yolanda at the Kennedy Center
on 15 June. Among those expected to take part in the concert are
Broadway artist Lea Salonga, singer Apl.de.ap and actor Lou Diamond