MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte’s formal acceptance to host next year’s ASEAN Summit bodes well for the country’s tourism sector, an official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Friday.
“It offers yet another great opportunity for the Filipino people to extend their genuine hospitality, as well as showcase the country’s world-class travel destinations,” DOT media director Ina Zara said.
The arrival of the guests, representatives and foreign dignitaries will also move the sector and the economy as they will book hotels, dine, shop and go around the country, she added.
“We share the President’s optimism and enthusiasm for the country’s hosting of the 2017 Summit, with the theme ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,’ to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said.
“We cannot overemphasize that the Philippines played an instrumental role in the founding of the regional bloc. We at DOT, therefore, stand alongside President Duterte, ready and willing to steer ASEAN toward realization of its goals of cooperation and regional stability,” she added.
Meanwhile, Teo also expressed optimism the “strong friendly” relations between the Philippines and the US will remain.
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“The Philippines has always had strong ties with the US and that is not going to change any time soon,” Teo said.
She added the encounter between President Duterte and US President Barack Obama during the gala dinner at the ASEAN Summit has increased the chances of a more substantive meeting in the future, which may impact bilateral relations and regional security.
The US has been consistently the country’s second biggest source of visitors. A total of 779,217 tourists from the US visited the country in 2015. In the first six months of 2016, some 530,000 Americans already arrived here, the DOT reported.