by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News
For the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) industry, 2017 is off to a great start, as they launch their new ad campaign — fresh from the Miss Universe pageant, where the world saw their beauties compete with the Philippines as their backdrop.
“The spotlight is on our beautiful destinations, and the great talents of the Filipinos that we have back home,” said Richmond Jimenez, PDOT Los Angeles Director. “I know that we have the holidays and we have great adventures and tour packages coming out as well.”
Local campaign initiatives have been successful, giving out prizes for an online photo contest, and teaming with local restaurants to give out even more prizes — a fitting way to shift the focus from beauties to food.
Local PDOT officials and the private sector are launching a series of food-related tours.
“There’s so many people craving, finding out to know more what is really Filipino food, so we actually have big events happening this year,” said Jimenez. “For people here in Los Angeles, Philippine tourism is cooking up with a lot of tours and gastronomic events.”
While the tourism industry in the Philippines is optimistic, President Donald Trump’s travel ban — restricting passengers from seven Muslim countries — has sparked concerns for many immigrant travelers.
“We are closely monitoring development of things that are happening, and we’re trying to monitor if there are calls or emails coming from the Filipino community, if they have received any negative effects because of the travel ban,” said Jimenez. “But so far, there’s no one who contacted the Philippine consulate about it.”
Experts and officials do have one piece of advice for travelers.
With many airports experiencing protests of the immigration ban, PDOT officials say to give an extra time allowance when traveling, and to double-check on flight status to make sure that plans aren’t affected by any possible mass actions.