World tourism executives and scores of delegates from across the global travel and tourism sector gather in iconic Manila for the 3-day 21st World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit under the theme, “Rediscovering Travel”.
In the opening ceremony at the Manila Marriot Hotel, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed the WTTC delegates attending in person and online, saying the summit “marks the beginning of a new era” for Philippine tourism.
“Now is the time for us to revive our connections and engagement with people,” Romulo-Puyat said.
The tourism chief was joined on stage by WTTC Chair and Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson.
On opening day, the Philippines was lauded by the global tourism leaders attending the event on-site.
“I congratulate the Philippines and Minister Bernadette, a nation that showed determination and courage to reignite travel in this region.”
“Here in Asia-Pacific, the reopening is just beginning. And I have to say I congratulate the Philippines and Minister Bernadette, a nation that showed determination and courage to reignite travel in this region,” Simpson said.
The tourism head also served as one of the speakers during the summit’s first panel discussion titled Redefining Travel in a Changing World, sitting alongside Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, Marriott International Group President Craig Smith, and The Global Rescue Companies CEO Dan Richards to talk about how travel and tourism sector continue to offer incredible experiences and drive social progress while still protecting health, preserving the environment, and responding to a rapidly changing landscape.
Smith shared that the sector is well on its way to recovery, sharing his surprise at how fast tourism–in the Philippines–has been bouncing back.
“I’ve never seen a recovery this fast: average rates, first-time interest rates.”
“I’ve never seen a recovery this fast: average rates, first-time interest rates. Take the Philippines for example. We have five hotels in the Philippines and we have 15 hotels that are being opened. We want to create these jobs. And so with the help of governments like yours, we see a really bright future going forward that this collaboration is going to do,” he remarked.
With the country’s first-ever hosting of the WTTC summit held annually, Romulo-Puyat emphasized how more communication and engagement between both the government and the private sector can accelerate recovery and sustain growth.
She also noted that the Philippines has remained committed to combating the effects of the changing climate and promoting green tourism.
According to the WTTC’s projection in its latest Economic Impact Report (EIR), travel and tourism in the Philippines will reach an annual growth rate of 6.7% in the next 10 years, exceeding its overall economy average growth rate of just 5.6 %.
The EIR also projects that employment will grow annually by an average of 3% in the same period, generating 2.9 million new jobs that will account for 21.5% of all jobs in the Philippines.
Simpson said that the latest EIR for the Philippines signals the astonishing recovery of the country’s Travel & Tourism sector.