THE Philippines and Thailand have agreed to update their tourism promotion agreement in aid of both countries’ economic recoveries.
In a statement over the weekend, the Department of Tourism (DoT) said Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco and her Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports counterpart Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn agreed to the update on the sidelines of the 11th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok on Aug. 18.
The cooperation agreement provides for collaboration between the Philippines and Thailand in travel facilitation, research and development, education and training, tourism initiatives, human capital development and employment generation.
The Philippines and Thailand signed the cooperation agreement covering the 2017-2022 period on March 21, 2017.
According to Ms. Frasco, the Philippines hopes to attract more Thai tourists.
“As of Aug. 14, we have had a little over 1.2 million visitors to the Philippines. Of that number, there have been 6,401 Thai nationals,” Ms. Frasco said.
Mr. Phiphat said the Thai government wants to address the imbalance in visitor numbers.
“I understand that… we have more tourists from the Philippines than Thais going to the Philippines and I want to change this… our departments (must) engage in public relations with the Philippines so we can increase the number of Thai tourists going to the Philippines,” he sid.
Ms. Frasco floated possible collaboration with Thailand in Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism, education tourism particularly English as a second language, and food and gastronomy tourism.
Mr. Phiphat proposed a tourism circuit involving the Philippines and Thailand to be marketed as a package for visitors from outside Asia.
The two officials also agreed to create a technical working group to review and discuss the extension of the agreement.
Ms. Frasco also met with Thai tourism industry representatives during her Bangkok trip, including the Thai Travel Agents Association, Esque Lifestyle & Travel; Jubilee Travel Co., Ltd.; Dive Potato; SC World Express; Big World Holiday; Worldwide Agency Co., Ltd.; Abroad Land; Pleione Travel Co., Ltd.; and Supertrips Co., Ltd.
Ms. Frasco said during her presentation at the APEC meeting that the Philippines is planning to collaborate with airlines and airports to resume flights and the development of new routes to reduce travel rates.
“We shall facilitate partnerships with airlines and airports with the reinstatement of flights and the development of new routes with the end in view improving connectivity across economies within the APEC and across the globe and restoring affordable and competitive rates for international and domestic travel,” Ms. Frasco said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave