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“The beauty of the Philippines is genuine; there is no need to build fancy theme parks and other man-made attractions because our beaches, islands, and other hidden treasures are God-given natural wonders.”

This according to Xander Kim Sigua, Executive Director of the Tourism Educators And Movers Philippines (TEAM Philippines), a leading advocate for the tourism industry, on the sidelines of a meeting held in San Fernando, Pampanga with various stakeholders who are planning to promote a food tourism initiative.

“In addition to our natural wonders, another reason for international and domestic tourists to visit various parts of the Philippines is the culinary experience that we can offer to certified foodies and the adventurous,” said Sigua.

“In addition to our natural wonders, another reason for international and domestic tourists to visit various parts of the Philippines is the culinary experience that we can offer.”

“In Pampanga alone, visitors can try out the sisig, betute, camaru, buro or balo-balo, murcon, tocino and other mouth-watering delicacies and specialties,” added Sigua.

Last Wednesday, the Department of Tourism (DOT) defended its budget at the House of Representatives. For 2019, it has a budget of 3.044 billion pesos, with more than half of these funds allocated for its Market and Product Development Program. 1.618 billion pesos has been allotted to promote the Philippines as a tourist destination.

“This is a lot of marketing, advertising and promotion money. It should be strategically used to promote the different tourist destinations in the country, and it would be nice if a certain portion of it will include promoting food tourism as well,” said the TEAM Philippines executive.

“It would be nice if a certain portion of it (DOT marketing, advertising and promotion budget) will include promoting food tourism as well.”

According to data from the DOT, 6.6 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2017. A report prepared by the World Travel and Tourism Council Report showed that the tourism sector contributed 3.35 trillion pesos to the country’s economy which is more than one fifth of the Philippines’ gross domestic product. The industry also generated 2.3 million jobs.

“Napakalinaw sa mga numerong ito na sa turismo ay may negosyo, may trabaho, may benepisyo,” said Sigua.

“However, TEAM Philippines believes that this is not yet the maximum, the best that we can do, and be. We believe that the best is yet to come, and will come, if both the public and privates sectors, and every Filipino, work to make this happen,” concluded Sigua.

 

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