THE Philippines and Thailand have resolved to revive a 23-year-old tourism cooperation agreement during the official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Bangkok.

“Philippines’ tourism program may yet gain an added boost with this concrete commitment for tourism cooperation with Thailand as a result of President Duterte’s fruitful official visit in Bangkok this week,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in a statement.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Chan and President Duterte stood witnesses as Teo and her counterpart,Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports chief Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, signed the Implementing Program of Tourism Cooperation 2017-2022 at the Santi Maitri Building of the Government House of Thailand.

The implementing program is rooted in a memorandum of agreement on tourism cooperation signed in Manila between the Philippines and Thailand on March 24, 1993.

Thailand joins China, Cambodia and Turkey as the Philippines’ partners in tourism cooperation agreements forged within just nine months of the Duterte administration.

The agreement stipulates, among others, that the two countries shall actively encourage their respective local travel agents to develop a joint promotional program that would market both the Philippines and Thailand destinations in one tour package.

“There is so much we can learn from Thailand in terms of tourism development strategies,” Teo said.

Manila-based travel and tour operators who accompanied Teo said the shared tourism program could strengthen the awareness of the international and Thai markets about Philippine destinations.

In 2016, visitor arrivals from Thailand grew by 8.8 percent, reaching 47,913. Thailand accounts for 10 percent of tourist arrivals from Asean.

Under the agreement, officials and staff of both participants will visit each country to build their capacity in the areas of tourism development, administration and finance, human resource, marketing and promotions and standards and regulations.

Teo said this development would also encourage tourism educational institutes in both countries to cooperate on exchanging technical materials, sending experts to give lectures and providing information on the opportunities for tourism-related training.
Published in News