Around 250 overseas Filipino workers gathered at the Lotte Hotel for the official launching of the Department of Tourism’s Bring Home a Friend campaign in Seoul, South Korea last Sunday.
Present during the event were Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Undersecretary Katherine de Castro, Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul Hernandez, Tourism Attache Maria Corazon Jorda-Apo, travel and tour executives, representatives from the Korean government, and Korean journalists.
Teo encouraged the Filipino participants to actively take part in tourism promotions, particularly as BHAF sponsors to create greater interest in and travel to the Philippines.
“Umuwi na kayo (come home) and please bring your Korean friends with you,” she said.
The tourism chief also thanked the Korean travel market for being the Philippines’ top market for tourists since 2016.
“This campaign is our way of saying to the growing Korean tourist market, now counting to over 1.3 million—that our country will always be their second home,” said Teo.
The distinct yet proximate geographic locations, as well as the rich biodiversity have proven to be the Philippines’ biggest advantage, the tourism chief. But probably the most important factor that guarantees every Korean’s repeat visit is the warm Filipino hospitality, she added.
“We have all the reasons to be proud hosts. In fact, world leading travel magazines have consistently named our islands—Boracay, Palawan and Cebu—as among the world’s most beautiful islands,” said De Castro.
Seong Heiu Pyeon, an editor of a Korean magazine, said he already asked his Filipino friends to register him as a BHAF invitee.
“A lot of Koreans are traveling to the Philippines and other than the country’s beautiful beaches, I see this as an opportunity to establish a relationship between Korea and the Philippines. See you Philippines, I will definitely book my flight now,” Seong said.
From January to October of 2017, a total of 1,332,141 Koreans visited the Philippines, accounting for 24.33 percent of total arrivals.