In Los Angeles, the annual Ambassadors Tour hopes to impress travelers to Davao.
Despite the ranks and advisories, Philippine Dept. of Tourism officials say travelers need to see the beauty of the Philippines for themselves.
The LA Philippine Consulate and Department of Tourism have unveiled the 11th annual Ambassadors Tour, that offers balikbayans a chance to tour the Philippines with officials.
While the tour has historically centered around Manila, this year they’ll be going south to Davao.
“Davao on its own has tremendous places and amazing things and activities for you to do,” said Richmond Jimenez, the Philippine Dept. of Tourism director.” And given there’s a lot more people doing businesses in Davao there are more flights … and so I believe it is right for us to really be pushing for Davao, as another destination for people to go to. Not only for people overseas, but Filipinos in the Philippines as well.”
The six-day tour takes place in July, and costs start at around $1700.
Past tours have given travelers a chance to meet with presidents during the Malacanang stop, and this year they’re hoping for a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in his hometown of Davao — where he performs some of his presidential duties .
“We are hoping that the president will be there, and should he be there, we would exert all our efforts to request that we all be given an audience even for a few minutes,” said LA Consulate General Adel Cruz. “And if that does happen, bonus po.”
These activities continue even as the US embassy reissued a travel advisory against the central Visayas region.
In a statement, the Department of Tourism said that proper authorities encourage travelers to continue with their travel plans, while observing safety precautions.
They are confident that the AFP and PNP are on top of the national security situation in that region.
Security concerns are one of the few reasons that the World Economic Forum, cited when it ranked Philippine travel and tourism 79th out of 136 countries — down five spots from last year.
The ranking also included road traffic, and environmental issues, as the reason for the drop.
But tourism officials aren’t too worried.
“There are a lot of news and yes, we respect the views of the media, and it is encouraged people read the news to see what is in store for them for the country they’re going to,” said Jimenez. “But one thing I can really say is that yes the Philippines remains a very safe destination, and that’s also the reason why we hold trips like this.”
Jimenez adds that despite the ranking the Philippines proved to be a desired destination,, after successfully hosting the Miss Universe pageant earlier this year, and the Madrid de Fateone food festival going on right now.