PH, China tourism deal to generate 'massive' employment opportunities, investments — Frasco

The Philippines and China's tourism deal will provide “massive" employment opportunities and investments across all sectors of tourism in the country.Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said after signing the Implementation Program on Tourism Cooperation.

(Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism Facebook page)

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco made such point after she inked the Implementation Program (IP) on Tourism Cooperation with China's Culture and Tourism Minister Hu Heping last Wednesday, Jan. 4.

The ceremonial signing was one of the highlights of President Marcos' three-day state visit to the Chinese capital of Beijing where Frasco was among the Cabinet officials who accompanied the Chief Executive.

“This Implementation Program with China will generate massive employment opportunities and investments across all sectors of tourism throughout the Philippines,” Frasco said in a statement Thursday, Jan. 5.

According to Frasco, the Philippines and China will work together on increasing tourist arrivals, resuming and adding direct flights to key and emerging destinations, joint promotional activities, and inviting tourism investments in infrastructure, among others.

“We are grateful for China’s commitment and interest in partnering with the Philippines as we usher in this new era of tourism focused on building the industry into a stronger, more sustainable, and more resilient economic pillar for the country’s transformation into a tourism powerhouse in Asia,” she said.

The Implementation Program seeks to achieve the objectives outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Philippines and China in September 2002.

Both countries have agreed to encourage and support the exchange of their respective administrators and tourism professionals over a five-year period in order to strengthen mutual development in the fields of hotels, resorts, cruise ships, ports, tourism products, and other related industries and competency standards.

It also covered tourism safety cooperation, in which both parties will take joint measures to protect the rights, interests, and safety of tourists visiting each other's country.

Local tour operators and travel agencies, according to Frasco, will participate in the IP by jointly advertising both countries' tourist offerings through promotional materials, highlighting significant attractions and destinations, and improving public information exchange.

There will also be collaborative workshops and training sessions on topics such as cruise/port development, tourism products and lake development, understanding the tourism market and industry, search and rescue operations for first-aid measures, and security measures.

Both the Philippines and China are expected to support one another's tourism departments and businesses in organizing travel fairs, tourism exhibitions, and other promotional activities to educate the traveling public about their goods and services while also fostering awareness of environmental protection and sustainable development in the expansion of their respective tourism industries.

“Also among the salient points of this Implementation Program is to advocate the best practices and knowledge in sustainable tourism which includes the promotion of eco-friendly products and services. We will also encourage investments in tourism infrastructure and support tourism enterprises of both countries to cooperate in the development of tourism projects in accordance with the current laws and regulations in each other's countries,” said Frasco.

To further discuss the implementation covered by the agreement, Frasco said a technical working group made up of representatives from the DOT and China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism shall convene at least once a year or as often as is necessary.

“In 2019, the Philippines recorded an 8.26 million international visitor arrivals where China placed second as the country’s top tourist market with a total of 1.74 million arrivals,” the tourism department noted.