NEW YORK CITY — A temporary martial law in Mindanao, together with a perception that ISIS sympathizers have found their way to Marawi City, plus a mysterious robbery gone wild at the Resorts World Casino in Manila may be enough to scare tourists away from the Philippines.
That’s why the Philippine Department of Tourism in New York is working hard to promote travel back home.
What better way to promote the Philippines through Filipino food, drinks and music at the Philippine consulate?
“So there are 20 of us going around the five cities to promote the Philippines, and to assure our travelers that the Philippines is a safe place to travel,” says Zeny Pallugna, from the PDOT.
Tourism promotion board COO and Philippine actor Cesar Montano even serenaded New Yorkers with an impromptu rendition of the classic “Philippines history” song popularized by Yoyoy Villame.
“You will be the extension of tourism promotions board, tell them how beautiful and they should experience Philippines,” said Montano. “I know it’s hard to do it right now, because of some issues, but the issue is happening all over the world, not only in the Philippines.”
While travel agencies expect tourist arrivals to slow down in the coming months , tourism officials say, this is only a temporary set back, and that Philippine tourism always bounces back.
Reports say tourist arrivals in the first two months of 2017 reached 1.2 million, up by 11% from last year’s.
DOT says in February alone, nearly 580,000 visitors came to the islands — an increase of about 28 percent over the past four years.
“It’s very challenging for the Philippine Department of Tourism, but it’s a go-go for us, because whether it’s a good or bad publicity, it’s still a publicity… and we’re gaining a lot of popularity from it,” said Pallugna.
The Philippine Department of Tourism is offering Filipinos and non-Filipinos to visit through the 11th Ambassadors Tour to the Philippines from July 11th to 16th.