Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo has concluded her three-day visit to Beijing, wrappping up partnerships between Filipino and Chinese investors and tourism leaders to increase cooperation in the Philippine tourism industry.
Highlighting Teo’s visit was the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Agreement on Tourism Cooperation between Philippines and China which will give DoT a better opportunity to market the Philippines to potential Chinese travelers and investors.
Besides bringing in more tourists to the Philippines, China National Tourism Administration Chairman Li Jinzao pledged to help in attracting more investors to the country and share best practices through the exchange of experts.
During a meeting with Jinzao, Teo emphasized the need to simplify visa application procedure for Chinese tourists by offering visa-on-arrival or e-visa.
“I am coordinating with Department of Foreign Affairs [DFA] and Bureau of Immigration to implement this,” said Teo.
Teo also wants to break the language barrier in the tourism industry by embarking on a language training program for tour guides.
“We will train them to speak Mandarin under DoT-accredited training centers,” she said.
Teo also clinched a bid to attract investors with one of the richest businessmen in China vowing to develop a town in Iloilo.
“He will build a township that has seaports, airports, malls, theme parks, and hotels,” she added.
In the aviation sector, other than the chartered flights from Guangzhou to Laoag in November, there will be chartered flights from Guangzhou to Clark and vice versa that will be inaugurated in December, she disclosed.
Teo met with a key player in the entertainment and casino industry, Clarence Chung, the Chairman and President of Melco Philippines (City of Dreams Manila) who is looking for more investments in the Philippines.
“I am positive that more and more tourist will go to the Philippines, with the infrastructure being built and development in tourism zones, we are looking at new investments.
Meanwhile, to promote Philippine tourism to potential Chinese travelers Teo signed an agreement with SM Prime Holdings Inc. at the Hyatt Hotel in Beijing, China
Under the agreement signed by Teo and SMPH’s President Jeffrey Lim, SM will provide exhibit areas and ad space locations across SM China Malls to support DoT’s thrust in creating awareness of the Filipino culture and tourist destinations to Chinese market.
“We hope to increase tourist arrivals with the help of SM, we are planning to do road shows by next year and we will be inviting tour operators to promote Philippine tourists destinations,” said Teo.
According to Lim, about 100-million Chinese shoppers pass through SM malls yearly.
“China is a huge market for the Philippines if we could just get five to 10 percent of that, we can double the tourist arrivals,” she added.