The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce Inc. (FFCCCII), the country’s umbrella organization of Filipino-Chinese business chambers, said they will focus its efforts on promoting tourism between the two countries amid political crisis between US and China that put the Philippines in the center of the issue.
FFCCCII President Dr. Cecilio K. Pedro said following the signing of Sister City Agreement between Huangshan City and Laoag City in Ilocos Norte at the Philippines China Tourism Exchange and Promotion Forum on Thursday, May 18, that tourism cooperation has the biggest potential between the two countries.
Pedro noted that one of the highlights during President Ferdinand Marcos R. Marcos Jr.’s visit to China in January this year was the signing of the “Implementation Program on Tourism Cooperation” by the Philippines and China to promote bilateral tourism cooperation.
“We appreciate such program for cooperation that opens up opportunities for our two countries to work together on increasing tourist arrivals and promotional activities that enhances the development of the tourism industry,” said Pedro.
Pedro explained at the forum, that FFCCCII would like to focus on tourism promotion rather than be dragged down by the issue between China and the US. He added that since the Philippines is in the middle of China and US conflict, all the more that they work to move beyond the crisis.
“For us, we are to promote friendly relations because at the end of the day what will benefit the Philippines is the most important for all of us,” he said.
He said the Chinese are promoting the UNESCO World Heritage site Huangshan City while the Philippines is promoting tourist destinations Palawan, Siargao and Laoag.
“These are areas we should focus in, not because we are pro China or pro American we. We have no enemies, but friends to all,” he said stressing that this is the same direction of President Marcos.
In 2019, he said, there were 1.7 million Chinese tourists that visited the Philippines.
“As China relaxes its outbound travel restrictions, we anticipate the return of thousands of Chinese travelers in the country that will invigorate the recovery of the Philippine tourism sector that was badly hit by the pandemic,” he added.
China is the country’s top trading partner China is the world’s largest consumer and tourism market with its 1.4 billion population with strong spending power.
“We are confident that China will be our country’s top source of foreign travelers with the resumption of more direct flights to-and-from different Chinese cities and Philippine tourist spots; and as more Philippine establishments use online apps such as Alipay and WeChat Pay that allows mobile payments from Chinese travelers,” he said.
He vowed that the Federation will continue its initiatives to assist business missions from China visiting the Philippines. “We will also continue to invite our Chinese friends and colleagues to visit the Philippines not only for business, but also to experience our rich culture, tropical weather, beautiful beaches and mountains, delicious food, and warm Filipino hospitality,” he said.