Tourism links grow between Canada and the Philippines
DIPLOMATIC POUCH - Neil Reeder (The Philippine Star) - November 6, 2014 - 12:00am

It seems that the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” is indeed delivering results based on their latest statistics. In my recent meeting with Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, he was pleased to say that there were more than 2.8 million visitors to the Philippines in the first seven months of the year generating more than P126 billion in tourism receipts.

I was also delighted to see that there is growing tourism traffic between Canada and the Philippines. DOT reported that Canada is the 7th largest source of tourists to the Philippines from January to July this year. More than 86,000 Canadians visited the Philippines, spending almost P5 billion, making them also one of the largest markets in terms of visitor expenditure. On the other hand, the Canadian Tourism Commission recorded more than 46,000 Filipino tourists visiting Canada from January to July this year. 

These statistics are only some of the indicators that indeed there is a constant movement of people between our two countries.

Last June, the Philippines and Canada signed an expanded Air Transport Agreement allowing for more flights between our two countries. There were close to 430,000 one-way passenger trips taken between Canada and the Philippines in 2013, up 22.5 percent since 2008. The Philippines remains the only ASEAN country with direct links to Canada.

Aside from the commercial dimension, we see the promise tourism may bring through our development cooperation program. Canada is helping the Philippines reach its tourism potential by contributing Cad$7 million to a technical assistance project of the Asian Development Bank. The project provides technical assistance to the DOT to improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector as well as the efficiency of the labor market through the implementation of an enhanced Hotel and Resorts Quality Assurance and Accreditation system and improved tourism services.

Canada also supports tourism development in the Philippines by funding the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED), which is an Cad$18 million, eight-year (2008-2016) bilateral project implemented in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Through this project, LGUs are provided technical advice and trainings on how to improve their business environment to be more competitive, more attractive to investments and conducive to job creation.

Last May, we announced a third batch of local government units (LGUs) that will receive support from LGSP-LED to implement their tourism development initiatives working closely with the DILG and the DOT. These ten projects are expected to serve as innovative models for other LGUs to follow to showcase how investments in tourism-related infrastructure and a stronger business climate are key factors in attracting other investments and creating jobs.

Canada will support the tourism projects to be implemented in Albay, Aklan, Antique, Batangas, Cebu, Davao del Norte, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Palawan, Siquijor and Sorsogon.

The earlier batches of LGU beneficiaries attracted a total of nearly P6 billion in new investments and created over 2,200 new jobs in the two years of direct supervision from LGSP-LED. We hope to build on this growth as our support to the Philippines’ tourism promotion.

*      *      *

(Neil Reeder is the ambassador of Canada.)

 

AIR TRANSPORT AGREEMENT ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK CANADA CANADA AND THE PHILIPPINES CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT HOTEL AND RESORTS QUALITY ASSURANCE AND ACCREDITATION LAST JUNE PHILIPPINES TOURISM
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