UN praise Philippines for resilent tourism industry

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has praised the Philippines for keeping the tourism sector afloat despite two major natural disasters last year.

UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said in a statement that international tourist arrivals had a double-digit growth to reach 4.7 million in 2013 while international tourism receipts increased 15% to reach $4.7 billion.

“The Philippine people were tested in times of difficulty and they have earned the respect of the whole world by demonstrating greatest courage and confidence,” Rifai said.

“Tourism is one of the best assets for them on their way to recovery and sustainable growth. UNWTO is very pleased to be working alongside the Philippines, the US government and PATA to make tourism a tool for recovery and sustainable livelihoods here in Bohol,” he added.

Rifai is referring to the Bohol Tourism Recovery Plan (BTRP), a roadmap developed by the UNWTO, Department of Tourism (DOT) of the Philippines, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) to revive the province’s tourism sector after the 7.2 magnitude-earthquake in October 2013.

The recovery plan includes a global marketing strategy for Bohol and the identification of tourism infrastructure and assets that need to be prioritized. Rifai said that a similar roadmap from Tacloban, which was hit by super typhoon Yolanda last November, is also in the works.

The second phase of the overarching “It’s more fun in the Philippines” tourism campaign of the DOT is currently handled by its original creator, BBDO Guerrero. From a more general approach, the campaign now will focus on specific tourist spots and those who work on the frontline of the industry in transport and other service areas.

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