Published on : Friday, March 17, 2017
The Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said that tourism in ASEAN member states and China will get the needed boost if there are stronger collaborations in place of conflict and division. Among the ASEAN member states are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo inaugurated the 2017 ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation seeking collective effort from ASEAN and China to increase tourism numbers. To quote Teo, “The bond between ASEAN and China, which just last year reached its 25tth year, is a welcome and timely one. The current global situation calls for collaboration rather than conflict and division. A stronger ASEAN – China cooperation beacons as a testament to the principles of achieving great and good things together.”
Year of Tourism Cooperation took place in at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. It was attended by ASEAN tourism ministers, China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) officials, members of the Philippine cabinet, diplomatic corps and tourism stakeholders in the private sector. The China ASEAN Expo Travel Mart, and China ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting are also expected to take place.
President Duterte said that tourism should be a top priority, since it benefits more people. In an interview with reporters, Teo said that the Year of Tourism Cooperation marked the start of more meetings between China and the Philippines in the following months.
Teo said, “They’re investing us to a summit in September. We’re also inviting them to attend the UNWTO”, referring to the imminent International Conference on Tourism Statistics slated in June.
The Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang also said how the number of outbound visits by Chinese has grown in the past five years by average annual rate of 11.7% reaching 120 million last year. He said, “There are more and more Chinese tourists traveling to the Philippines and the (airline) company has to change the plane’s model from small to big Airbus 330. All the airlines traveling between ASEAN and China will have to shift their airline models.” He expressed hope that Year of Tourism Cooperation would bring China and ASEAN even closer together. Relations between the Philippines and China have vastly improved under Pres. Duterte, who has sought Chinese trade and economic aid while shelving long-running territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.