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Freeman Region

World Tourism Organization official vows help for Bohol

Ric V. Obedencio - The Freeman

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines —  Another historic event for Bohol took place when it played host to visiting dignitary secretary general Dr. Taleb Rifai of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UN-WTO) last week.

"The world is with you. We'll always be there. And we all continue to support for Bohol," said Dr. Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, in his message to Governor Edgar Chatto and Vice Governor  Concepcion Lim.

Rifai issued this statement during his visit to Bohol and a courtesy call at the Governor's mansion on Friday. He also expressed appreciation of what the Bohol leadership has done and Boholano's resiliency in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck on October 15, 2013. "The people were tested very hard," he said.

According to the Department of   Tourism, the UN-WTO "is responsible for promotion of responsible, sustainable universally accessible tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability."

The turnover of the Bohol Tourism Recovery Plan (BTRP) to the provincial government, during Rifai visit at a beach resort in Panglao was one "concrete help extended by the WTO and other agencies," said the DOT.

The DOT, in its statement, said  BTRP was "an output of multi-sector collaboration to help Bohol recover from the effects of the earthquake." It was the product of the WTO, the DOT, and the United States Agency for International development (USAID), under the Advancing Philippines Competitiveness Project (COMPETE) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

The document is now the tourism bible of Bohol's key players in the tourism industry. It contains strategies for marketing and development of new tourism products "to strengthen Bohol's position in eco-cultural destination."

USAID acting mission director Reed Aeschliman said: "This is a very important milestone for Philippine tourism industry. Bohol has always been one of the top destination and we, in USAID, believe that by helping Bohol's tourism industry recover from the aftermath of the earthquake and Yolanda, we help the whole country towards achieving economic growth."

The same statement quoted Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez as saying that Bohol has bounced back based on the number of tourist arrivals following the earthquake. (FREEMAN)

ADVANCING PHILIPPINES COMPETITIVENESS PROJECT

BOHOL

BOHOL TOURISM RECOVERY PLAN

CONCEPCION LIM

DR. TALEB RIFAI

DR. TALEB RIFAI OF THE UNITED NATIONS WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION

GOVERNOR EDGAR CHATTO AND VICE GOVERNOR

PACIFIC ASIA TRAVEL ASSOCIATION

REED AESCHLIMAN

TOURISM

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