Welcome Speech of Vice Governor Agnes A. Magpale at the Opening of the 3rd International Travel Festival (ITF) on July 15, 2016 at the Ayala Center Cebu.
I would like to thank Myeventology for organizing the 3rd International Travel Festival (ITF 2016) here in Cebu – as supported by Ayala Center Cebu, Department of Tourism VII, and the Tourism Promotions Board, Manila.
After staging the 1st and 2nd itf for the past 2 years – which proved to be very, very successful – this year’s 3rd ITF brings together around exhibitors, including national tour operators, airlines, hotels, resorts, travel agents, financial institutions, and insurance agents.
This three-day event demonstrates once again that tourism in the Philippines is a many splendored business – and that we have convinced tourists that, indeed, it’s more fun in the Philippines.
We proudly showcase our assets – history, heritage, culture and arts, education, natural and man-made wonders, places and sceneries, hotels and resorts, beaches, medical facilities, sports facilities, retirement facilities, transportation, information technology, cuisine and native delicacies, entertainment, hospitality and even environment all over the country – they are all for travellers and tourists to see and enjoy.
That is why – with the magnitude and variety of products and services that itf 2016 covers – it makes us doubly proud that this tourism promotion event is held in Cebu for the third time.
Heartwarming news has recently brought us an added deep sense of pride. Very recently, the travel + leisure magazine announced that this year, 3 of the top 10 best islands in the world are in the Philippines.
Palawan ranked first and followed by Boracay, with Cebu taking the 6th place. The strength of our tourism industry, however, does not lie alone in the wonders of our natural or man-made resources and the quality of our products or services but also in the competitive management and marketing skill of our tourism industry players.
Myeventology articulates that through this promotional event called the itf 2016 with the theme: “don’t dream, just go” as a magical catchphrase – tourists are assured that the we have a wealth of attractions to offer for them to discover and rediscover.
I would like to reiterate that the provincial government as always is very supportive of the tourism stakeholders’ effort to push the Philippines forward and be recognized as a tourism magnet in the global market.
Now on his second term – Governor Hilario P. Davide III will be pushing for the construction of airports in Bantayan and Camotes islands. The trans-axial project is also being endorsed now to the NEDA for approval and funding.
These big projects are all intended to cut travel time and for convenience to travellers. If realized, Cebu is expected to attract more and more tourists – considering the accessibility and convenience of transportation.
Last night, i attended the 50th year anniversary of our diplomatic relations with New Zealand. It was confirmed that air New Zealand will soon open a direct flight to manila in December. This is certainly a welcome development to our travel industry. If our confidence is high that beyond this three-day exposition will be an aftermath of increased tourist arrivals in any place in the country.
Our tourism products and services just need to be constantly upgraded to make sure they meet the global standards. With the appropriate and sufficient infrastructure in place – transportation, accommodation, and communication – among others – convenience and ease of our visitors is assured.
I just want to emphasize though that while we wish to sustain and improve more the gains of the tourism industry – particularly through an increased influx of tourists – we nevertheless choose to embrace those who come to our shores in goodwill and good faith.
We don’t want tourists who just come for sexual pleasure at the expense of our women and children. You must have probably read in the local papers about the provincial government’s effort in fighting human trafficking and other cases where women and children have become victims of unscrupulous foreigners.
In the context of tourism promotions – we have to strike a balance between the pursuit of economic growth and respect for human dignity. We would rather have less tourists to come who are law abiding, than more tourists who are disrespectful to our laws, moral norms. Customs and traditions. This position, I insist, is never subject to any compromise.
Finally – i congratulate Myeventology and all its active partners for pushing further the country’s image as a top travel destination – through the conduct of the ITF 2016.
We in the provincial government of Cebu will continually join you in the quest of making the Philippine tourism industry a cornerstone of a strong, vibrant, dynamic and healthy national economy!
Daghang salamat ug maayong buntag kanatong tanan!